Case Update: Pastors Yéremi Blanco Ramirez and Yarian Sierra Madrigal Fined for Participation in July 11 Protests
UPDATED (9/2/2021 7:20PM EST)
One day after paying fines, Pastors Yéremi Blanco Ramirez and Yarian Sierra Madrigal were summoned once again to the local police station where they were informed they would be monitored/under surveillance for a 6-month period. They were forced to sign a document acknowledging this fact but were not given copies.
This type of surveillance is often used by Cuban authorities when they are preparing to charge individuals with “pre-criminal dangerousness.”
GLA’s legal consultant close to the case speculated that the Cuban authorities were targeting the pastors because they are Christians and they can organize many people quickly, their personal facebook pages also references the popular #SOSCuba which authorities consider an act of dissidence. The consultant added, “for the regime they [the Pastors] are dangerous.”
On September 1, Pastors Yéremi Blanco Ramirez and Yarian Sierra Madrigal were summoned to a nearby police station in Matanzas and fined for participation in the July 11 protests that broke out across the island.
Pastors Yéremi Blanco Ramirez and Yarian Sierra Madrigal were detained on July 11, during the protests in Matanzas, Cuba. Both of the pastor’s wives visited police stations and State Security units in the province attempting to locate their husbands. They were eventually told the men were being held in a prison facility but were not allowed to communicate with them.
On July 15, authorities informed the two women that the Pastors’ cases had been passed to the prosecutor’s office. Shortly after, the two men were transferred to a maximum-security prison where they would be detained until a trial was held.
After assistance from legal counsel, the families of both men filed Habeas Corpus petitions on July 19, which were eventually rejected.
Several days later, on July 24, the men were released on recognizance, though no trial date was set.
Over a month later, the pastors were summoned to a nearby police station and ordered to pay fines instead of appearing in court. Yéremi Blanco Ramirez was charged 800 CUP (or roughly $33 USD) and Yarian Sierra Madrigal was charged 1000 CUP (or roughly $42 USD).
A GLA legal expert familiar with the case noted that though these fines aren’t considered excessive bearing in mind the drastic inflation on the island, the charges were not fitting for “actions that are constitutionally protected.”
GLA’s legal expert also noted that though the accused could appeal the fines, because such actions would require a court appearance, no one considers it to be an option, as the likelihood for a fair trial is slim to none. By voluntarily appearing in court to appeal a fine, an individual would be subjecting him or herself to additional charges and possible prison time.
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