More Cuban protesters jailed as US blasts 'unfair' trials

More Cuban protesters jailed as US blasts 'unfair' trials

A total of 414 people who took part in unprecedented anti-government protests in July 2021 have been sentenced in Cuba
A total of 414 people who took part in unprecedented anti-government protests in July 2021 have been sentenced in Cuba. Photo: YAMIL LAGE / AFP/File
Source: AFP

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A day after the United States sanctioned five Cuban officials over "unfair trials" for anti-government protesters, officials in Havana said Friday that another 33 have been sentenced, bringing the total to 414.

Some received jail sentences between five and 18 years, and others "correctional labor." Protesters had previously been jailed for up to 25 years.

Mass protests broke out across Cuba on July 11 and 12 last year, with demonstrators demanding "freedom" amid economic strife, medical and food shortages, and growing anger at the government.

A crackdown by the security forces left one dead, dozens injured and 1,300 people detained, according to the Justicia 11J civil organization.

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

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced visa restrictions on five Cuban officials he said were "connected to unfair trials and unjust sentencing and imprisonment of peaceful July 11, 2021 protesters."

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The Cuban government, he added, was denying Cubans "their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms."

Blinken's Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez reacted in English on Twitter Friday, saying the "US resorts again to coercive measures against #Cuba as act of aggression, with individual sanctions based on mendacious and absolutely unfounded allegations."

The Cuban government accuses the United States of being behind the protests, the biggest since the island's 1959 revolution.

Source: AFP

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