HAVANA, CUBA- Another 74 people involved in last summer’s unprecedented anti-government protests were sentenced to prison – some for as long as 18 years, officials said Wednesday.
In Havana, Santiago, and Matanzas, judges announced sentences for 74 defendants accused of sedition, public disorder, and other crimes related to the protests. There were two defendants who were acquitted.
In the end, 56 of the defendants received prison sentences ranging from 10 to 18 years, while the rest — including 12 teenagers — were given “correctional labor” sentences.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the convicted “attacked the constitutional order and stability of our socialist state.”
Last July 11 and 12, thousands of Cubans held mass protests, demanding freedom amid economic strife, shortages of food and medicine, and growing anger at the government. The protests were the largest since the revolution of 1959.
Justicia 11J, a civil society group, reported that one person died, dozens were injured, and 1,300 were arrested as a result of the security forces crackdown.
Previous court proceedings resulted in some protesters serving 25 years in prison.
The latest 74 sentences bring the total number of people sentenced as a result of the demonstrations to 488.
The government announced in January that 790 people, including 55 minors, had been prosecuted for the July demonstrations.
There is a perception that the protests are being orchestrated by the United States, according to the Cuban government.
In order to avoid a repeat of the July protests, the Cuban National Assembly approved a new criminal code in May that includes stricter punishments for crimes such as “participation in subversive activities.”