Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    The Solitude of the Desert

    The Solitude of the Desert / Angel Santiesteban

    Angel Santiesteban, Translator: Unstated

    Translator's note: This post does NOT relate to Angel's most recent

    arrest this week. It relates to a series of criminal charges the regime

    fabricated against him in order to be able to imprison him as a

    "criminal" rather than as a "/"

    for his writings.

    Last Monday they finally decided to open my case to public view after

    three years of continuous torture and false investigations, after the

    withdrew more than five charges that came with the

    exorbitant sum of 54 years in — which with still other charges

    added another thirty years, so the total would be close to ninety years

    of imprisonment for me — but some powerful hand decided dismiss them,

    because they understood that they had not managed to make me afraid and

    make me quit my blog: The Children Nobody Wanted, and also because

    international opinion made them look ridiculous.

    The trial was held in the special chamber of the Tribunal in the

    neighborhood of Vibora (not coincidentally the name of the reptile

    "viper"), for "known counterrevolutionaries"; there they also tried

    Sebastian, the Spaniard who served several years unjustly;

    prisoners of the Black Spring, also innocent; and, recently, the U.S.

    contractor Alan who is serving an unjust prison in Cuba.

    When we arrived at the court the members of "State Security" were

    already assembled on the perimeter, in my honor, a peculiar deployment

    in the style of totalitarian regimes. There were official cars

    parked there and some covert interceptions in surrounding the entire

    area. They also had at the ready the famous paramilitary mobs, the

    supposed "enraged people" who throw themselves on the Ladies in White

    and the rest of the opposition, which, according to the official

    version, "come spontaneously to undertake acts of repudiation," who

    looked at us coldly, full of hatred, like the hounds of the ranchers,

    eager to jump on the escaped slave at an order from the master.

    As expected, the prosecution presented no plausible or forceful

    evidence, merely expounding with hollow words, lacking the slightest

    credibility. The laughable part was when the expert, Lieutenant Colonel,

    said that, based on calligraphic tests, I was guilty, because of the

    idiotic detail of the size and angle of my writing. My lawyer asked if

    the expert if this was a hypothesis, an evaluation; what the officer

    said was he was 100% sure that I was guilty and that there was no margin

    for error.

    That was the "evidence" presented by the prosecution, and, for that

    reason, the request remained for six years in prison. That is: I will be

    found guilty only of something as vague and imprecise as the size and

    tilt my handwriting? I think I'll be the first writer accused in the

    history of mankind for writing with "some" tilt, and drawing my letters

    in a very suspicious size.

    However, by the Defense presented a variety of witnesses who claimed my

    innocence regarding the false charges brought against me. The defense

    showed, in addition to the lack of knowledge of the literature in the

    expert, errors in structure, form and fact in the accusations and

    exposed false prosecution strategies, and its failed attempt to try to

    trap an innocent person who had convincingly more than demonstrated his

    innocence regarding the charges against him. The defense also mentioned

    a number of authors that scientifically demonstrate that calligraphic

    proofs are not an exact science, and that their results can not be used

    as "unequivocal" evidence, due to the wide margin of error that exists

    in every evaluation.

    According to friends who were present at the hearing, some of them

    lawyers, former judges and former prosecutors, they said it was a shame

    that the prosecution presented such an obvious farce, and that, surely,

    there was no doubt that it had been shown that the charges brought

    against me had no seriousness. But some assured me that, before starting

    the trial the decision was already determined, that the verdict is not

    decided by the judges when there exists, as in my case, a political

    criterion to decide my innocence or not.

    Also attending was a representative the "Union of Writers and Artists of

    Cuba" (UNEAC), and the legal entity representing that institution, who

    remained at the trial, and said that, from his point of view, they

    should, without any doubt, dictate my acquittal.

    Finally it finished with the conclusions for sentencing, which the Judge

    would dictate in the coming days, but not before warning me that if I

    did not concur with the opinion, I would have ten days to appeal.

    I insisted, as an innocent person, that I would not accept even a five

    peso fine, and that I would serve any time in prison to which I was

    sentenced, from the first day on hunger strike.

    Upon leaving the court, one of the agents of "State Security" reported

    by phone that they did not need to send anyone, that what they expected

    did not happen, that everything was in order and in tranquility, and no

    "indisciplines" had been committed.

    I did not give them the pleasure of abusing those who wished to seek

    justice for me, and showing their disagreement with government abuses to

    the opponents of the regime. They were expecting some "indiscipline" as

    an excuse to beat us. Anyway they saw us marching and their eyes stabbed

    us in the back.

    Now come the hours of waiting for the sentence, that will be rendered

    against the decision of an honest Cuban to inform the world, through his

    blog, of the abuses committed by the Cuban regime.

    Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

    November 2 2012