Berliner TageBlatt - Dozen Cuban protesters given 5 to 16 year sentences

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Dozen Cuban protesters given 5 to 16 year sentences
Dozen Cuban protesters given 5 to 16 year sentences / Foto: © AFP

Dozen Cuban protesters given 5 to 16 year sentences

Twelve Cubans who took part in unprecedented anti-government protests last July were sentenced to between five and 16 years in prison, convicted of sabotage, public disorder and theft, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

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The court said "13 citizens, accused of committing and provoking serious disturbances and vandalism" in the city of Cardenas, 140 kilometers (90 miles) east of Havana, were tried in December in a military court.

One person was acquitted but the other 12 were found guilty of sabotage, public disorder, aggression, aggravated robbery and intimidation, the court said.

It did not give the ages of those convicted, nor specify what each individual was accused of.

They have the right to appeal their sentences.

The statement carried by the Cubadebate website said the 13 people had gathered outside a shopping mall in Cardenas on July 11, 2021.

They allegedly threw stones and poles at the building "causing serious damage" before robbing it.

They were also accused of throwing "stones and Molotov cocktails" at police and their vehicles.

Thousands of Cubans demonstrated in numerous towns and cities across the island nation demanding "freedom" with the country mired in its worst economic crisis for almost 30 years.

The security forces' response left one dead, dozens injured and more than 1,300 people detained.

At the end of January, authorities admitted that more than 700 people had been charged and 172 already convicted over the protests.

The Miami-based Cubalex NGO has hit out at the length of sentences imposed on protesters and claims they have been denied their right to a fair trial.

J.Horn--BTB