Sisters Threatened with Long Prison Sentences for Protesting
Sisters Lisdany and Lisdiany Rodriguez Isaac have been in prison since July 15, 2021, after having taken part in the social uprising on July 11th in Placetas, Villa Clara.
Both of these women are being charged with the alleged crimes of contempt, vandalism, the spread of infectious diseases and public disorder. Their mother, Barbarita Isaac Rojo has complained to the media, saying that she hasn’t seen her daughters since the Police Chief in Placetas, Hector de la Fe Freire, arrested them.
The two women are being held in pretrial detention as a preventative measure in Guamajal, in the city of Santa Clara, where they are awaiting a trial date.
In statements made to Cubanet, the mother complained about Lisdany and Lisdiany being in need of medicines and not having access to these:
“My daughters have called me twice from jail to ask for antibiotics because they’ve got some really badly infected bites, and they aren’t being given anything for them. I don’t have any out here either. A mother can’t sleep knowing this.”
Lisdiany is also a mother of a three-year-old daughter who has already shown signs of “sleep disorder” because she is being kept away from her mother, according to ADN Cuba.
In the same article, ADN Cuba also confirmed that the Supreme Court of Cuba has rejected, in the name of the Cuban government, the appeal for the 22-year-old sisters’ release.
On the other hand, journalist Claudia Padron Cueto has reported that the Municipal District Attorney’s Office in Placetas, Villa Clara, has asked for a 10-year prison sentence for Lisdany and Lisdiany. These sentences are considered one of the longest in the cases that have come to light in connection with July 11th.
Other women activists in Placetas linked to Cuba’s Free Yorubas Association and the “Julio Machado” Academy are also in pretrial detention. Some of these women are Arianna Lopez Roque, Donaida Perez Paseiro and Nidia Bienes Paseiro.
In Arianna’s case, we have seen repeated attempts from the Cuban government to try and discredit her activism and to scare her. She has been a victim of defamation with homophobic messages, forced entry into her home and violent arrests.
We recall the vandalism that Arianna’s house suffered in 2018 because of a protest that was taking place after State State Security banned her from visiting her husband, opposition member Mitzael Diaz Paseiro, in prison for a year.
In April 2021, Arianna herself went live on Radio Marti and said that she had been arrested twice in less than 24 hours, on April 16th and 17th, just because the Communisty Party Congress was being held on those days. During those days, Arianna had a police officers going around her house.
Picture taken from Alas Tensas’ “Cuban women who take part in politics” campaign.This activist has two children, an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old, who are being taken care of by a grandmother because the father of her children, Mitzael Diaz, is also back in prison for having taken part in the 11J protests.
Arianna Lopez Roque’s house in Placetas, Villa Clara, vandalized with asphalt paint by Cuban government forces. Photo: Radio Marti
According to the Cuban Democratic Directorate, Arianna was able to make her first call after her arrest, on August 16, 2021, and was able to comment on the treatment she had received up until this moment. According to her testimony, she was beaten on the day of her arrest and was holding a hunger strike for the 10 days she was in State Security custody.
The Provincial District-Attorney’s Office in Villa Clara is asking for 8-year prison sentences for Arianna, Donaida and Nidia.
Since July 11th, Cuban women are not only having to deal with the everyday worry of how to feed their family, but are also faced with another reality, having to intercede on their arrested children’s behalf; and looking after their grandchildren. All of this amidst a health and economic crisis.
* Traducción de Havana Times