Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lady in White Berta Soler Threatened With Prison

Lady in White Berta Soler Threatened With Prison / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 24 May 2016 — Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in
White, faces a prison sentence of three months to five years for the
alleged crime of resistance. The activist was arrested last Sunday when
she attempted to go to the Cathedral of Havana for the inauguration of
the new archbishop of the capital. After being charged by the
authorities, she is required to available to them at all times and
cannot leave Cuba before her trial. "I didn't become an opponent [of the
regime] in order to travel and I am prepared to go to prison if that is
the decision. I won't even get a lawyer," Soler told 14ymedio.

The group of 31 activists, among them 22 Ladies in White, was
intercepted on leaving the Ladies in White's headquarters in the Lawton
neighborhood. The repudiation rally against them before the Sunday Mass
was organized for 9 in the morning and involved many people who were not
even from the neighborhood. "Although we already knew we wouldn't be
able to get there," Berta Soler said, "we decided to leave [for the
church] because our house is not a jail cell." As commonly occurs,
tempers flared and finally the police arrived to arrest them.

"When they stopped us we sat down, which is a common practice in peace
movements around the world, except in Cuba," Soler emphasized.

Berta Soler was driven to the Alamar neighborhood where, she said, there
was "a classroom reserved by the PNR (People's Revolutionary Police)."
At about six or seven in the evening they told her that this time there
would be formal charges. "At first they said that I had scratched a
policewoman, but eventually they dismissed the charge of attack," she said.

That night an official who said she was the investigator/prosecutor on
her case told her that she was accused of resistance. "I didn't respond
in any way and went to sleep. At a quarter to ten at night they came to
find me to sign the accusation but I didn't sign any document. We (and
they as well) have videos that show I never lifted a hand to anyone
or attack anyone, not even verbally."

Berta Soler says she has no problem complying with the requirement that
she not leave the country. "At the moment I have no plans for any trip.
The closest is an idea to go to Geneva, but that still has not
materialized. If before [the trial], or at any time I need to leave the
country for some event, they will have to stop me from traveling at the
airport itself," she said.

The date of her trial has not been set.

Source: Lady in White Berta Soler Threatened With Prison / 14ymedio –
Translating Cuba -

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