74 anti-government protesters in Cuba sentenced to 18 years

74 anti-government protesters in Cuba sentenced to 18 years

The latest sentences bring the total number of people decorated as part of the demonstrations to 488.

Havana:

Cuban courts issued prison sentences for 74 others involved in last summer’s unprecedented anti-government protests – some up to 18 years, officials said on Wednesday.

Judicial authorities in Havana, Santiago and Matanzas announced sentences for 74 defendants accused of treason, public disorder and other offenses related to protests. Two defendants were acquitted.

Of those sentenced, 56 received 10 to 18 years in prison, while the other 18 – including 12 juveniles – had their sentences commuted to “corrective labor”.

The prosecutor’s office said the convicts “attacked the constitutional order and stability of our socialist state.”

Mass protests took place across Cuba on July 11 and 12 last year, with protesters demanding independence amid economic strife, food and medicine shortages and growing anger at the government. They were the largest protests in Cuba since the 1959 revolution.

According to the Justicia 11J civil society organization, one was killed, dozens were injured and 1,300 people were detained in the crackdown by security forces.

Some protesters were jailed for up to 25 years in previous court proceedings.

The 74 latest sentences bring the total number of people decorated as part of the demonstrations to 488.

In January, the government said 790 people, including 55 minors, had been prosecuted for the July demonstrations.

The Cuban government blamed the United States behind the protests.

Cuba’s National Assembly approved a new criminal code in May that includes harsher penalties for offenses such as “participation in subversive activities” in an effort to prevent a repeat of the July protests.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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