Eighteen year old Gerardo Sarrion is imprisoned in the Yayal Prison of Holguin province, known better amongst Cubans as “Cuba Si”, under false charges of attempt and could be sentenced to 1 year behind bars, according to his relatives, who are human rights activists.
Gerardo is the son of Lady in White Anni Sarrion Romero and step-son of Juan Carlos Vazquez Osoria, a pro-freedom activist of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). According to Vazquez Osoria, the teen has been threatened, beaten and detained on numerous occasions in the past but the most recent act of violence against him on behalf of the forces of the communist regime have landed him in jail.
“Gerardo was detained by the political police on July 15th 2012 in the municipality of Moa when he was on his way back home from Havana”, reported Osoria. “At that moment he was sent to the National Revolutionary Police Unit of Moa. When I was informed of this, I rushed over to that unit with my two daughters and began to protest”.
As he was demanding his step-son’s freedom outside the Unit, Vazquez Osoria explained that Gerardo was rushed out by the back section of the center and taken to another penitentiary in the town of Mayari. “On that day, the authorities did not give Gerardo any food, and on the next day he was transferred again from Mayari to the Yayal prison in Holguin. That day, they didn’t give him lunch. He has been in that same prison since then”.
Political police and State Security officials have alleged that the adolescent is being tried under charges of attempt against a local delegate of Moa- accusations which his mother and step-father have assured are completely false. They recently were able to obtain a visit with Gerardo this past Tuesday, July 31st in the Yayal (‘Cuba Si’) Prison. They described a youth who is under constant harassment but “very strong in spirit“.
During that visit, a State Security official by the name of Duglas (a well known oppressor of Ladies in White and other activists in that area) told the family that Sarrion’s case could lead him to prison for 1 year.
Vázquez Osoria explained that “State Security has been doing this against Gerardo for some time now because his mother and I think differently and we do not agree with this system. Previous to this, on May 24th 2012 he was detained and beaten by a delegate in Moa, under the orders of State Security officials Leandro Alba. He was also beaten by the political police on May 19th of 2011 and on February 6th 2011 he was one of the victims of a violent repudiation attack at the headquarters of UNPACU in Moa, where he also suffered beatings. He has been threatened so much to the point of being put in prison now”.
In the ‘Cuba Si’ prison, the youth has been forced to share a jail cell with an inmate with suicidal tendencies. His step-father alleges that the authorities have done this on purpose in an attempt to “terrorize him“. Gerardo’s cellmate has told him that he will cut himself with a knife. According to Osoria, on a constant basis “Gerardo also receives threats from his jailers“.
Anni Sarrion Romero has been fired from her workplace because of her involvement in the Cuban civic resistance movement and because she is a well known and active Lady in White. In 2011, she was victim of a very violent beating at her same workplace, an action which shattered some of her teeth and caused her other injuries. Meanwhile, Juan Carlos Vazquez Osoria has also suffered reprisals due to his activism, including beatings and arrests at the hands of the political police. Both demand immediate and unconditional freedom for Gerardo Sarrion.
For more information Cuba:
Anni Sarrion Romero – Cell Phone: +5353-783-667