Family Hurting as Harry Chavez Reaches a Year in Jail

The political prisoner was arrested on Nov. 6, 2021, on the eve of the “electoral farce” whereby Ortega and Murillo assigned themselves another term in power.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Political prisoner Harry Chavez completed on November 6 one year imprisoned by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. He was arrested on the eve of the “electoral farce” that further preserved the dictatorial couple in power.

Chavez, 64, an economist and, according to his family, never belonged to any opposition organization and never received threats or persecution by the police or civilians. They do not understand the reasons for his arrest and subsequent prosecution and conviction.

Chavez was accused, without evidence, of the alleged crimes of “undermining national integrity” and “spreading fake news.” Last March, Ortega’s judge Nadia Camila Tardencilla, sentenced him to ten years in prison plus a fine of more than 50,000 cordobas.

The political prisoner worked as coordinator of the electoral program of the Institute for Development and Democracy (IPADE) until 2017 but was already retired when in December 2018 the regime ordered the annulment of the legal status of that NGO and seven other organizations.

On the first anniversary of his arrest, a relative of Chavez sent an E-mail to the Confidencial newsroom, where he relates what happened with the economist’s case.

Below, the unedited E-mail:

This November 6, Harry Chavez Cerda completes a year as a prisoner. He was captured in his home by two people dressed in civilian clothes who did not have a warrant. He was held prisoner and incommunicado in a cell of District 1 until November 21, when he was taken to a preliminary hearing. During this period, a writ of habeas corpus was filed, in which a judge was appointed. The Police did not present the defendant.

In the preliminary hearing, to address the illegality of holding him prisoner for 15 days, without referring him to the courts, the Prosecutor’s Office altered the facts in its accusation, stating that he was captured on November 18, in the street.

Harry was transferred to La Modelo prison on December 1, 2021. He was unable to see his relatives until December 22 and wasn’t brought to trial until March 14, 2022.

In a single hearing he was sentenced to ten years in prison and a fine of more than 50 thousand cordobas, for the crimes of undermining national integrity and spreading fake news, by judge Nadia Camila Tardencilla.

In the development of the trial, falsehoods prevailed. The witnesses were five policemen, who related the following “facts”:

– A policeman testified that he had watched Harry Chavez’s house for four months. However, he could not describe the house. In addition, despite declaring that meetings were held there, he did not have a single photograph as evidence.

– Another policeman described made up events at the moment of the capture. Although the first policeman claimed not to have taken a photograph of the accused, this second witness said that he captured Harry using a photo given to him by the first witness.

– As evidence of the creation of fake news, another police officer presented a clumsy montage using Harry’s profile picture in another profile, enlarging a publication of the US Congress’s RENACER Law, which were never actually published.

The defense’s arguments went unheeded. Despite the countless irregularities and the explanations given by the defendant, who only had one opportunity to testify to his innocence, and that these news items were false, he was found guilty by the judge.

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