Press Advisory: CFC denounces long prison sentences of Cuban artists for exercising their rights. Calls for Red Cross to be granted access to Cuban prisons.

Press Advisory

CFC denounces long prison sentences of Cuban artists for exercising their rights. Calls for the Red Cross to be granted access to Cuban prisons.

CFC calls for release of all political prisoners and an end to sham trials

Washington, DC, June 25, 2022

Contacts: John Suarez and Janisset Rivero (612)-367-6845

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel “Osorbo” Castillo Pérez.

Center for a Free Cuba. Washington DC. Cuban artists and prisoners of conscience Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel “Osorbo” Castillo Pérez were sentenced to five and nine years in prison respectively by the Castro regime on June 24, 2022. The Center for a Free Cuba condemns the ongoing political show trials that have unjustly jailed hundreds of innocent Cubans, including these two artists, and calls for their immediate release.

This brings the total number of Cubans sentenced to prison time to 452 related to the 11J protests. However, there are another 277 Cubans detained, because of their role in the 11J protests. This brings the total number of Cubans jailed for 11J protests to 729, according to Cubalex. The Cuban dictatorship identified 790 Cubans, including 55 minors, prosecuted for the July 2021 demonstrations.

Maykel “Osorbo” Castillo Pérez and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara in show trial footage released by regime.

Havana does not permit international or domestic oversight of prison conditions, good statistics on its overall prison population are difficult to come by, and officials infrequently provide data on prisons. This data cannot be independently verified. The UN Committee Against Torture on April 29, 2022 reported that the Cuban government had not provided prison population figures since 2012. Information is provided sporadically, and is misleading.The International Committee of the Red Cross do not have access to Cuban prisons.

“Maykel ‘Osorbo’ Castillo Pérez has been arbitrarily detained since May 18, 2021. Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara has been unjustly jailed since July 11, 2021 when the political police detained him to prevent him participating in the 11J protests. Neither Cuban artist should have ever been imprisoned, and both have been recognized as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International. “These are not just trials, but part of a terror campaign by the Cuban government to silence dissent in Cuba. I call for the immediate and unconditional release of all Cuban political prisoners, and an end to these sham proceedings,” said John Suarez, executive director, Center for a Free Cuba.

The Center joined together with over 500 human rights advocates, religious leaders, writers, artists, intellectuals, journalists, businessmen, former diplomats, academicians, and activists in an appeal to both the Cuban dictatorship and the world’s democracies, and civic, religious and political leaders to call for an end to repression in Cuba, elimination of restrictions on the distribution of humanitarian aid, allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to enter Cuban prisons [ the ICRC has not been allowed in since 1989], and the release of all Cuban political prisoners.

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