Desde Dentro de Cuba

Distribuído por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

La Habana, June 20, 1998, Cuba Free Press.

Presumption of Innocence by Ofelia Nardo, Cuba Free Press.

Article 3 of Cuba's Rules of Criminal Procedures reads: "every defendant is presumed innocent until sentenced."

However, that code also allows the prosecution of a defendant and even the imposition of preventive detention without the defense being informed of these actions and without recourse in the process.

This makes it look more like a state of defenselessness than a presumption of innocence.

When this presumption is to be applied to a citizen who opposes the regime by expressing his opinion against the actions of the government or the policies that rule the country, and who is the subject of a criminal prosecution, then it resembles culpability because he is subjected to treatment that is not only against internal laws, but also against the most basic human rights.

Such is the case of at least six people who have been awaiting trial for a year--at times critically ill--in jails of extreme harshness and amid felons convicted of serious common crimes. That is the case of Reynaldo Alfaro and Marta Beatriz Roque, who on various occasions have denounced serious assaults against them.

These people not only seem to be presumed guilty a priori, but it can actually be said that they are already being punished or treated as if they indeed were, without the authorities showing any regard for the provisions of the First Article of our Code of Criminal Procedures that says: "No sanction or preventive measure may be imposed as a consequence for an offense or a state of danger to repress or treat the same, except in conformity to the procedural rules established by law and by virtue of a sentence pronounced by the appropriate court."

In the presumption of innocence as well as in the prerequisites of Article 1 of our procedural rules, the actions and intentions of the man responsible for carrying them out play a very important role; and we must not forget that we are called "enemies," "worms," "traitors" and other epithets that can affect the conduct of those who hold power illegitimately. In Article 62, the Constitution itself denies the public liberties of those who wish to live in a democracy and could, therefore, change the prevailing social and economical system, when among other things it says that: "none of the rights recognized to the citizens may be exercised against that established by the Constitution and the laws, nor against the existence or aims of the socialist state . . . ."

The presumption of innocence, especially in these cases, is more talk than reality. (Ofelia Nardo, Cuba Free Press).

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