Cuban Lady in White Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Participating in the 11J (11 July) Protests
The Lady in White Sissi Abascal Zamora was sentenced this Thursday to six years in prison for her participation in the protests on July 11 (11J) on the island. Abascal, who is also a member of the Pedro Luis Boitel Party for Democracy, was accused of the alleged crimes of contempt, attack and public disorder.
As reported to Radio Televisión Martí by Armando Abascal, her father, the Municipal Court of Jovellanos, in Matanzas, ratified the sentence requested by the Prosecutor’s Office in the trial of November 3 after her participation in the protests that took place in the town of Carlos Rojas. In addition, her father explained, an appeal was filed against the sentence and it will take ten business days for the decision to be known.
The former political prisoner also said that after the first ten days of the trial, his daughter, who is now in home confinement, must be transferred to the Matanzas women’s prison and wait behind bars for “the resolution of the appeal.”
The mother of the 23-year-old activist, Lady in White Zamora Annia, told Diario de Cuba that her daughter was accused by major Silvia Martínez Montero, the political police for Jovellanos. “The trial was rigged. The three lawyers who worked that day made a very good defense, but it is sad that this work is not enough. It is a single power and the Prosecutor’s Office manipulates everything. Sissi was defended by a lawyer from Jovellanos, whose name is Vladimir, but their hands are tied,” he said.
Zamora also denounced that on July 11 his daughter was beaten by several civilian-clad law enforcement officers in front of the Carlos Rojas police station when they tried to find out where the government opponent Armando Abascal was being detained.
“The protest had already ended, everyone had withdrawn, my daughters Lisi Abascal, Sissi Abascal and I remained,” he said. “Then a bus arrived full of women in civilian clothes, between 30 and 40, who attacked us horribly. We suffered injuries, my daughter Lisi was hit on the head with a bottle and she had to receive stitches.”
After learning of the six-year sentence for Sissi Abascal Zamora, Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, asked on her social networks: “Where are the henchmen who beat her?” “In Cuba there are no laws that protect you, much less justice. Freedom and justice for Sissi and all Cuban political prisoners without exclusion,” she demanded.
According to the prosecution’s accusation, Sissi Abascal Zamora during the protests shouted phrases such as: “homeland and life,” “down with the Castros” and “down with the Revolution,” and “she asked the local residents to join her.”
The Prosecutor’s Office also argued that the young woman placed a white sheet on the branch of a tree in the park that read “homeland and life,” while the protesters shouted “phrases against the revolutionary process” and expressions such as “henchmen, murderers, fucking police,” and also “banging on pots and pans with sticks.”
The NGO Cubalex, a legal information center, has documented 1,271 detainees as a result of the spontaneous demonstrations of 11J. Of these, at least 659 are still in prison, and, according to a recent report, 42 have been convicted in summary trials and eight in ordinary trials have been verified.
Cubalex considers of particular concern “the use of the figure of sedition to impose exemplary sanctions on at least 122 people,” with prosecution requests of up to 30 years in prison.