In Cuba, 74 anti-government protesters were condemned to prison terms of up to 18 years
In Cuba, 74 anti-government protesters were condemned to prison terms of up to 18 years

Cuban courts sentenced another 74 persons participating in last summer’s massive anti-government rallies to prison terms ranging from one to 18 years, officials said Wednesday.

Judicial officials in Havana, Santiago, and Matanzas handed down sentences to 74 individuals accused of sedition, public disorder, and other protest-related crimes. Two suspects were acquitted.

Of those sentenced, 56 received between 10 and 18 years in prison, with the remaining 18 – including 12 juveniles – having their sentences converted to “correctional work.”

The convicted “attacked the constitutional order and stability of our socialist state,” according to the prosecutor’s office.

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On July 11 and 12, last year, mass protests erupted across Cuba, with protestors demanding freedom amid economic turmoil, food and medical shortages, and mounting resentment of the government. They were the largest demonstrations in Cuba since the revolution in 1959.

According to the civil society organisation Justicia 11J, a security crackdown resulted in one death, scores of injuries, and the detention of 1,300 individuals.

Previously, some demonstrators were sentenced to up to 25 years in prison in court.

With the 74 new sentences, the total number of persons sentenced as a result of the protests now stands at 488.

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The government announced in January that 790 people, including 55 juveniles, had been charged in connection with the July demonstrations.

The Cuban government accuses the US of being behind the protests.

In an effort to avoid a repeat of the July protests, the Cuban National Assembly enacted a new penal code in May, containing harsher sanctions for acts such as “participation in subversive actions.”