Press Release: Cuban Prisoner of Conscience Virgilio Mantilla Arango Faces New Political Trial

ress Release

Cuban Prisoner of Conscience Virgilio Mantilla Arango Faces New Political Trial

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 Washington, DC. September 15, 2021.

 The Center for a Free Cuba is deeply concerned about the situation of Cuban prisoner of conscience  Virgilio Mantilla Arango, who is facing a new political trial, according to a report from his wife Emilia Prieto. The activist, currently detained in isolation at Cerámica Roja prison, faces a possible sentence of three years for allegedly displaying signs with slogans critical of the communist regime.

“There is no justice in Cuba. So, what they want is to have him, and many other human rights activsts in Cuba, in prison,” stated Enrique Galindo, an activist of the Camagüeyan Human Rights Unit.

The Center for a Free Cuba calls on international human rights organizations to stand in solidarity with Mantilla Arango as this human rights defenders faces this trial which is a reprisal against his activism.

“We ask for Virgilio to be freed and for things to be transparent. What Virgilio does is demand the Cuban people’s freedom. We ask the international community to stand in solidarity,” stated Galindo via telephone call from Cuba.

On July 23, 2021, Mantilla Arango was already sentenced to nine months of imprisonment under the alleged charges of “disrespect” and “inciting the masses” for having shouted slogans in favor of freedom and human rights from his doorstep.

Virgilio Mantilla Arango was also arrested and sentenced to seven months of imprisonment in December of 2020 for his support for the San Isidro Movement, a Havana-based organization of artists who support freedom of expression.

Mantilla Arango spent several weeks on hunger strike to protest his arbitrary arrest and trial. Mantilla Arango was sentenced to seven months of imprisonment under the pretext of the alleged crime of “hoarding food.” He had previously been arrested for distributing historic documents to the populace, such as the Montecristi Manifesto from Cuba’s 1895 War for Independence signed by pro-independence leaders  José Martí and Máximo Gómez.

 

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