Young Cuban filmmaker Anyelo Troya, who had been arrested at the July 11 protests in Havana, Cuba, and sentenced to one year in prison in a defenseless mass trial, has been released from jail and remains under house arrest.
Troya, 25, left prison on Saturday night (24) and gave an interview to Efe this Sunday (25) in which he revealed that he is obliged to remain at home with a conviction for “public disorder” still in force.
The arrest of the director of the famous music video for the song “Patria y Vida” – an anthem of dissent inside and outside Cuba – generated an intense campaign on social media for his release, as well as criticism of the swift trials with which the Cuban justice system condemned dozens of young people. They would have had no minimum guarantees of due process.
In the collective judgment to which the filmmaker was subjected, 11 other young people were sentenced to prison terms ranging from ten months to one year. Only two of them had lawyers.
“Of those who were with me, only I was released thanks to the fact that my case has become very international, but the other guys are still locked up there,” Troya told Efe.
About his arrest, the filmmaker assured that he was not participating in the protests, did not sing any chants, or even take pictures with his camera. He says he saw police officers beating women and scolded them. “Immediately, several plainclothes officers grabbed me by the neck, threw me to the ground and beat me,” he reported.
Troya regretted not having been allowed to communicate with his family or have access to a lawyer during his time in jail. He said he was interrogated repeatedly but denied physical abuse or torture. “I feel happy for the people who supported me, my friends, and also a little stunned,” described the young man, whose family, with the help of a lawyer, is working on an appeal to reverse the sentence.
Organizations and activists estimate the number of people detained since the July 11 protests at several hundred, most of whom remain behind bars – awaiting formal charges or not.
Cuban justice and judicial authorities, which did not reveal the number of detainees, denied that there were summary trials and referred to “abbreviated procedures for minor crimes”, of which they recognized 19 trials involving 59 people.
However, experts have denounced the increasingly common use of summary judgments to harass and imprison political opponents of the government. Two of the interpreters of “Patria y Vida”, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Osorbo, remain in prison.