‘Prosecution Witnesses Lie,’ Warned Family Members of Those on Trial in Santa Clara for the July 11th Protests in Cuba
The fabrication of evidence and manipulation of witnesses have marked the last hours of the trials taking place in Cuba for the July 11th protesters. The oral arguments against the protesters taking place in the city of Santa Clara remain the center of attention for family members, human rights organizations, and the independent press.
Among the denunciations of family members, which emerged on Wednesday, one witness said that State Security negotiated with him and would impose only a fine in exchange for his testimony accusing those arrested in that city during the massive protests that took place six months ago.
Tayri Lorenzo, the mother of political prisoner Andy García Lorenzo, one of those on trial this week, told Saily González on Facebook from outside the Provincial Tribunal of Villa Clara, that prosecution witnesses “were lying” and “slandered” the defendants.
Only a few family members of the protesters have been able to attend the trials and, as a result, the accounts of what occurs inside the tribunals can only be reconstructed in a fragmented way, according to the few relatives who have been able to access the courtroom.
García’s mother assured us on Wednesday that they took one prisoner to the tribunal so he could testify and he “said he gave his first statement [against the protesters] because he was coerced by State Security and negotiated his release and [they ensured] he would be set free with a fine of 1,000 pesos if he implicated someone else.”
She confirmed what she heard from the prisoner himself: “There were many witnesses to what I am saying. With regard to that, the prosecutor was left without any arguments. The judge speaks very softly, we realize that everything is written,” ahead of time.
She also said that during the trial they are “emphasizing” that the protesters yelled phrases such as “down with the revolution,” “patria y vida [homeland and life]“, “Díaz-Canel singao [motherfucker],” “dickhead police” and other defiant slogans.
On the other hand, García’s mother reproaches that other demands made by protesters were not mentioned: “That the people were demanding food, that the people are hungry, the need for food, that the people do not want repression, they want freedom. They did not emphasize that, only their offenses.”
Regarding her son’s case, Lorenzo confirmed that the official who led the young man’s proceedings, Yadian Cárdenas, told the family that “Andy was not involved in violent acts at any moment,” but did not provide details about those moments.
However, the prisoner’s sister, Roxana García Lorenzo, was able to attend Wednesday’s trial and she told the family that the official himself “testified against Andy saying that he was always inciting violence, which is a lie. There is not a single video of this. The attorneys requested permission to show the videos, but they say that due to technical issues they are not available. We have all the videos and none shows Andy hitting, on the contrary, he was always avoiding violence,” said the young woman.
During the interview with Saily González, Roxana García Lorenzo denounced that at one of the police stations where she was held for hours along with her boyfriend in October, they were shown videos where her brother defended the agents who were there to preserve order, asking other protesters not to assault them and advocating for a peaceful protest.
At that moment, says the young woman, she asked to copy the videos but the request was denied by police and they justified it by saying that only defense attorneys had access to the evidence. However, “[García’s] attorney did not have access to the videos,” to prepare his defense, she denounced on Wednesday.
She also mentioned the official, Yadian Cárdenas, who during the trial told her that García was “assaulting and offending the police and inciting violence” the entire time. He also said the young man was “the leader” of the protests but “leading a protest is not a crime, but they do treat it as a crime. . .The prosecutor is bringing witnesses who work for them,” she said.
In Santa Clara, in addition to García, 15 more young people are on trial for crimes of public disorder, contempt, and assault. Wednesday the strong police perimeter continued around the Provincial Tribunal of Villa Clara, reinforced by special brigade agents and the State Security. Trials were also being held for 11J protesters in three other cities throughout the country.
Translated by: Silvia Suárez