While the song “Patria y Vida” rose with the awards for Song of the Year and Best Urban Song at the 2021 Latin Grammy Awards ceremony, one of his co-interpreters and member of the San Isidro Movement (MSI), Maykel Castillo “Osorbo”, was serving six months in provisional prison without a trial having been held. His colleagues from MSI Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and Esteban Rodriguez They have been imprisoned for four and seven months respectively under the same precautionary measure without a court finding them guilty.
Osorbo was arrested on May 18. His family did not know his whereabouts for eight days, which is why Amnesty International reported a possible enforced disappearance.
He is accused of the alleged crimes of “attack, contempt and resistance” for the events of April 4, when a group of neighbors thwarted his arbitrary arrest by police agents.
According Article 107 of the current Criminal Procedure Law, the term of the investigation of the preparatory phase file should not exceed 60 days. It can be extended, justifiably, by the Instructor’s bosses. In these cases, the maximum term for the completion of the file is six months.
Exceptionally and upon reasoned request from the corresponding provincial head of the Ministry of the Interior, or, where appropriate, the provincial chief prosecutor, the attorney general of the Republic “may grant a new term for the conclusion of the investigation of the preparatory phase file.”
Therefore, it cannot be said that the time established for the investigative phase has been violated. What is being violated is common sense and therefore the presumption of innocence of the accused is being affected.
How long does the Prosecutor’s Office need to gather sufficient evidence to prove Osorbo’s presumed guilt?
At the end of June, in the document in which he rejected a change of precautionary measure requested by the artist’s lawyer, the Prosecutor Ramón Macías said that “the investigation” was “practically exhausted”. The document itself confirmed that the charges of “public disorder” and “evasion of prisoners or detainees” were finally dismissed.
Almost five months have passed since then. Why hasn’t the rapper’s trial been held?
The Prosecutor’s Office could use as justification to delay the trial the Covid-19 pandemic, which, while it has exposed the shortcomings of the publicized Cuban health system, has served as a pretext to curtail (more) the freedoms of citizens, imprison dissidents and postpone the approval of laws.
But since the end of September, the authorities began to relax the anti-Covid-19 measures. On November 15, the country’s borders reopened and the school year was restarted. What prevents the trial against Maykel Osorbo from being held or the case from being closed and released?
On the other hand, the MSI denounced at the end of October that State Security had conditioned the release of Osorbo on exile. This action, totally different from that used with common criminals, shows that the rebellious rapper is a political prisoner of the regime.
Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the MSI, is being held in the maximum security prison of Guanajay. He is accused of attack and contempt. Without knowing it, he was being accused and investigated in the Preparatory Phase File No. 24/2021 of the Unit for the Processing of Crimes against State Security based in Havana, for the events of April 4 that involved rapper Osorbo.
By not notifying Otero Alcántara, once the file was filed, that such charges were imputed to him, his right to defense was delayed, guarantee contained in the current Criminal Procedure Law.
But he was not arrested until July 11, when he wanted to join the popular protests that spontaneously broke out that day in several Cuban cities.
Too He is accused of inciting a crime for calling his neighbors to join the demonstration, whose exercise, according to the president of the Supreme People’s Court of Cuba, Rubén Remigio Ferro, It does not constitute a crime but a constitutional right of the people. So why is inviting others to exercise this right a crime?
Otero Alcántara has also received an offer to go into exile in exchange for his freedom. An offer that he has rejected, which shows his conviction, and that of the regime, in his innocence and in the political nature of his imprisonment.
On the other hand, reporter Esteban Rodríguez is about to serve seven months in provisional prison, during which you have contracted Covid-19 twice. At this time is on hunger strike for the second time to demand his freedom.
His case makes a fool of the president of the TSP and exposes the entire Cuban judicial system. He was arrested on April 30 during the peaceful sit-in with which Rodríguez and other Cubans responded to the violation of their constitutional right to free movement by the Police by preventing them from approaching the home of Otero Alcántara, then on a hunger strike.
Although it was the police officers who disturbed the order by violently arresting the protesters, they were charged with “public disorder” and “disobedience”.
These alleged crimes, in their basic form, are punished with penalties of three months to one year of deprivation of liberty, or even with fines of 100 to 300 quotas.
In September DIARIO DE CUBA showed through an analysis that the April 30 protesters on Obispo Street were being sentenced before being tried.. Then, Rodriguez, Inti Soto Romero and Luis Angel Cuza Alfonso, in addition to Thais Mailen Franco and Yuisán Cancio, who were released a few days later, had exceeded the minimum prison time they would receive if tried and found guilty.
At this time, Rodríguez and his two companions still incarcerated have served in prison more than half of the sentence they would receive in a trial that has not yet been carried out..
These advance sentences make it clear that The objective of the regime has not been to do justice but to punish those who dared to exercise what according to the president of the TSP is a right, and send a warning message to those who intend to exercise it in the future.
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Why is the regime keeping Maykel Osorbo, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Esteban Rodríguez in prison?