Activists have documented more than 500 detainees since the July 11 protests in Cuba, including several minors, while religious organizations are assisting relatives of those arrested and harsh testimonies of people released in the past few days are coming to light.
During and after the July 11 protests there was a wave of arrests of participants, including anonymous citizens, artists, opposition activists and independent journalists.
Activists have circulated an interactive list in an Excel document that allows users to enter not only the personal data of those arrested, but also useful information such as the date and time of arrest, the last report or the place where they were last seen.
The list already includes 537 names in locations across the country, including eleven minors, including a 15-year-old teenager.
They are usually charged with “contempt of court” or “crimes against state security. The organization Cuban Prisoners Defenders has denounced that many of those arrested are subjected to summary trial, without the possibility of access to adequate legal representation.
Some of them were released in the last few days, some without charges and others under house arrest awaiting trial.
Among the latter, the testimony of a university student, Leonardo Romero Negrin, who claimed to have suffered beatings and harassment during several days of detention for participating in a peaceful march in Havana, gained special prominence in the networks.
Church intercedes to help detainees
The Catholic community, for its part, is also moving to assist those arrested.
The Cuban Conference of Religious, which brings together all the congregations in Cuba, has begun to provide not only spiritual but also legal advice to the families of the detainees.
Above all they help them to present the habeas corpus recourse so that they know in which prison their loved ones are and follow the process, although “the Cuban law does not give many possibilities”, said to EFE the Jesuit priest Eduardo Llorens, one of the leaders of this initiative.
“We have mobilized because the number of people are many. They are estimated at several hundred and beware they are not thousands. This has an impact on society. They are people who do not have a profile of common criminals and have not had problems with justice before,” he explained.
The “Mothers’ Movement”
A call has also begun to spread, signed by the recently created “Mothers Movement”, for “all mothers, aunts, sisters, girlfriends and grandmothers” whose relatives “have died, are wounded or disappeared since July 11” to take to the streets on Wednesday throughout the country.
This collective refers to the Ladies in White, the wives and relatives of the 75 dissidents imprisoned during the 2003 wave of repression known as “Black Spring”, who for years demonstrated peacefully to demand their release.
The massive detentions have generated criticism in the international community.