Cuban Gov. Sentences Opponent to Five Years in Prison

Yandier García Labrada (left) and Virgilio Mantilla Arango (right) are members of Cuban opposition organizations. (Collage 14ymedio)

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES — The activist Yandier Garcia Labrada, of the Christian Liberation (MCL) Movement, was sentenced to five years in prison in a (non-contact) Telematic trial, according to the opposition organization, which denounced the action. On October 6, 2020, García Labrada was arrested when he protested in a line to buy food in Manatí, Las Tunas, on seeing some store employees handling some products “under the table.”

After the arrest, considered “violent”, the members of his family went almost two months without any news of his whereabouts. Since then, García Labrada has been in the El Tipico prison in Las Tunas and, according to a complaint from the MCL, the process and trial were “full of irregularities.”

The prosecutor asked for five years in prison for the crimes of “contempt, attack on authority and spread of epidemics,” a request that was confirmed on Tuesday.

Since García Labrada’s arrest, the political police have not stopped harassing his family. His brother, Iran Almaguer, was detained in June for three hours at the police station in the town of San Andrés, where he lives.

The European Parliament denounced the case of Yandier García Labrada at the beginning of June, when it approved a resolution condemning the human rights violations in Cuba. Similarly, the Inter-American Council on Human Rights issued Resolution 5/2021 in January of this year to grant precautionary protection measures in favor of the activist, considering that he is in a serious and urgent situation of risk of irreparable damage to his rights.

Another activist who has also been sentenced to prison in recent days is Virgilio Mantilla Arango, founding leader of the Camagüeyana (Cuba) Unit for Human Rights. As reported by Radio Televisión Martí, Mantilla was sentenced last Friday in Florida, Camagüey, to nine months in jail for the alleged crime of “contempt.”

The opponent had previously been arrested on July 16, in the town of Céspedes, where he resides, when he peacefully complained about the lack of medicines and the problems of the health system in that town, according to the activist Jiordan Marrero Huerta speaking to Radio Televisión Martí; Marrero Huerta is a member of the Cuban Christian Democratic Party.

“Virgilio was arrested in the afternoon that day in the polyclinic. The accusation is made by a colonel of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR), who says that Virgilio offended him and that he tried to attack him, which is a lie, that could be checked,” Marrero added.

“At the moment Virgilio is in the dungeons of the Florida municipality police station; he has not yet been transferred to Cerámica Roja, a reception center for convicts in the province, and we are waiting to see what decision the authorities will take with the appeal..

Mantilla made a call to Marrero to warn him that if he returned to prison he would declare a hunger strike: “They gave him a minute and a half, and he told me: ’My brother, I am not going to serve an unjust prison sentence again for this dictatorship. I’d rather starve to death’,” said the activist.

Virgilio Mantilla Arango had been released on July 4, after serving a seven-month sentence in the Kilo-9 prison, in Camagüey, for the alleged crime of “hoarding” food. The opponent was arrested after publicly expressing his solidarity with the San Isidro Movement.

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