© Natasha Pizzey for Amnesty International

Cuba: Amnesty International condemns sentences of Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel “Osorbo” Castillo

In response to today’s decision by the Popular Municipal Court of Central Havana sentencing artists Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Pérez to five and nine years in prison, respectively, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:  

“Both Luis Manuel and Maykel are artists who have used art as a means of expressing their views on the social, political and economic conditions in Cuba. They are two emblematic examples of how Miguel Díaz-Canel’s government uses the judicial system to criminalize critical voices, including through charges of alleged crimes that are incompatible with international law. The international community must continue to publicly condemn these practices, which openly undermine the full exercise of human rights in the country.”  

“Despite demands from various actors within the international community, the trials of Luis Manuel and Maykel, which should never have taken place, were conducted behind closed doors and under heavy police control, according to reports from activists. Amnesty International also received information from activists and journalists, denouncing the presence of security agents in the vicinity of their homes, to prevent them from going outside the court where the trials were held”.  

They are two emblematic examples of how Miguel Díaz-Canel’s government uses the judicial system to criminalize critical voices, including through charges of alleged crimes that are incompatible with international law

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

“The trials of Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel ‘Osorbo’ Castillo are a shameful example of the human rights crisis caused by the Cuban government’s decades-long policy of repression.  Amnesty International condemns the criminalization of these prisoners of conscience, who are being held solely for exercising their rights.”  

“We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Luis Manuel Otero, Maykel ‘Osorbo’ Castillo and all those imprisoned for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and defending rights in Cuba.”