Amnesty International: On Imprisonment of Sonia Garro

Thursday, November 6, 2014
From Amnesty International:


Cuba: Fair Trial Must Go Ahead Without Further Delay

Following three postponements, the trial of two government critics and their neighbor is set to take place on 7 November. Amnesty International is concerned for the lack of full guarantees of a fair trial, including the right to call witnesses and challenge the evidence.

Lady in White Sonia Garro Alfonso, her husband Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González and their neighbor Eugenio Hernández Hernández have been in pre-trial detention since 18 March 2012, when a group of government supporters gathered in front of Sonia Garro Alfonso and Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González’s house to carry out an “act of repudiation”, a demonstration led by government supporters with the participation of state security officials aimed at harassing and intimidating government critics. The purpose of this act was to prevent Sonia Garro Alfonso and Ramón Muñoz González from participating in events to commemorate the anniversary of the crackdown on dissidence which started on 18 March 2003 and led to the imprisonment of 75 peaceful activists.

All three were charged by the public prosecutor in September 2013 with public disorder (desórdenes públicos) and attempted murder (asesinato en grado de tentativa). Sonia Garro Alfonso faces the additional charge of using violence or intimidation against a state official (atentado). Their trial has been postponed on three occasions, in November 2013, June 2014 and October 2014, with no reason ever given for each postponement. The latest date is set for 7 November.

Amnesty International is concerned the trial may lack the essential guarantees of a fair trial, as is usually the case in trials against government critics. The Cuban authorities must ensure the trial goes ahead in accordance with international standards, including the right of the accused to call defense witnesses and to challenge the evidence against them. The authorities must also guarantee the charges brought against them are based on clear evidence. In view of the long period of time they have been detained, the authorities must not postpone the trial once again or else permit their release pending trial.