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A 22-year-old Mother in Cuba Has Been Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Posting Videos of Protests

Woman sentenced to 15 years for publishing video of protest (Credits: Miami Herald)

At just 22 years old, Mayelín Rodríguez Prado found herself handed one of the harshest sentences by the Cuban government for her involvement in a demonstration in August 2022. Prado, a mother to a young daughter, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for using Facebook to document and publicize the protests that took place in Nuevitas, central Cuba.

During the demonstration, Prado captured footage of Cuban police assaulting three girls and other repressive actions against protestors. Following the protest, she was detained at her home and held in solitary confinement at a State Security facility.

The Municipal Court of Camagüey, according to the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH), sentenced Prado for crimes of “enemy propaganda” and “sedition,” along with 12 other participants in the demonstration.

Cuba protests (Credits: Daily Sabah)

According to Cuban lawyer Raudiel Peña Barrios, these sentences aim to punish Prado for bringing visibility to the protests and the subsequent repression by the authorities.

Barrios emphasizes that these harsh sentences are meant to criminalize peaceful protest and freedom of expression, sending a clear message that anyone who speaks out against the government will face severe consequences.

The protests in Nuevitas were fueled by frustrations over the lack of electricity and other basic necessities. Residents took to the streets, echoing calls for “Freedom” just a year after the massive protests in July 2021, which were met with government repression and resulted in numerous arrests and convictions.

Prado’s case is not an isolated incident; others, like Yoan de la Cruz, have also been targeted for expressing themselves publicly on social networks.

Protest in cuba (Credits: NBC News)

With the increasing access to social media and the rise in demonstrations across Cuba, the government has implemented laws to restrict freedom of expression online and punish those who dare to speak out against the regime.

Decree Law 370, passed in 2019, criminalizes the dissemination of information deemed contrary to the public interest, while Decree Law 35 of 2021 restricts the use of telecommunication and ICT infrastructures to prevent the spread of content deemed threatening to the state’s principles.

These measures serve to suppress dissent and maintain control over the flow of information within Cuba, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by those seeking to exercise their basic rights and freedoms.

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