Cuba Sentences 381 People Over Anti-Government Protests

(AFP) — Cuban authorities have sentenced 381 people who took part in unprecedented anti-government protests last July, the public prosecutor said on Monday.

Of those, 36 people were sentenced to up to 25 years in prison for sedition.

Mass protests broke out across Cuba on July 11 and 12 with demonstrators demanding “freedom” amid economic strife, medical and food shortages, and anger at the government.

A crackdown by security forces left one dead, dozens injured and 1,300 people detained, according to the Justicia 11J civil organisation.

The public prosecutor said those sentenced Monday were mostly facing “crimes of sedition, sabotage, robbery with force and violence, assault, contempt (of authority) and public disorder”.

Those sentenced included “16 young people aged 16 to 18”.

A total of 297 received prison sentences while the 84 others, including 15 youths, were given the option to commute their sentences with community service.

Although Cubans only legally reach adulthood at 18, criminal responsibility is applied from the age of 16.

In January, authorities said 790 people had been prosecuted over the demonstrations.

The government accused the United States of organising the protests.

Washington has blasted Havana over the harshness of the sentences and has demanded the release of all those detained over the protests.