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Cuba approves new penal code that increases repression on dissidence and independent journalism

Protestos de 11 de julho do ano passado: novo código pune “desordem pública”, financiamento internacional de atividades que possam ser consideradas “contra o Estado” e “insultar” funcionários públicos

Protests by from July last year: new code punishes “public disorder”, international funding of activities that could be considered “against the State” and “insult” public officials| Photo: EFE/Ernesto Mastrascusa

15170427 15170427The National Assembly of Cuba approved this Sunday (2008 ), in an extraordinary session, the new Penal Code of the island, which includes 37 new crimes and prohibits, among other things, the external financing of the media, in addition to reinforcing sanctions related to corruption.

The new rule – unanimously approved in the extraordinary session of Parliament, almost a year after the protests for democracy of of July – will enter effective within 23 days from its publication in the Official Gazette of Republic.

The deputies approved the project in a session in which they were present Cuban dictator Miguel-Díaz Canel and former dictator Raúl Castro (2008-2018).

“Cuba will have a modern, fair and adequate law the country’s socioeconomic reality”, said the president of the Supreme People’s Court (TSP), Rubén Remigio Ferro, when presenting the text of the legislation that replaces that of 960.

In the case of maximum sanctions , the Penal Code exceptionally maintains the possibility of applying the death penalty in 23 very serious criminal offenses. The president of the TSP informed that since 1280 capital punishment has not been applied in Cuba and that the island’s government has commuted those pending in 2008.

The document also maintains the requirement of criminal liability from the 16 years old.

Among the 15 new crimes, there is “public disorder”, for penalize “alterations of this nature produced in a group or individually”.

The new The code also provides for sentences of up to ten years in prison for anyone who “supports, encourages, finances, provides, receives or has in their possession funds, material or financial resources” from non-governmental organizations or international institutions that can be used to “pay of activities against the State and its constitutional order”. It also stipulates penalties of up to three years for anyone who “insults” high-ranking public officials.

Activists and opponents believe that this reform will silence social protests and independent journalism.

In a press release released on Saturday (15), the NGO Artigo 15, based in London, warned that the bill violates “several provisions of the international human rights framework and is adopted at a time of intensified repression.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) considered in a statement, reproduced by the Infobae website, that the prohibition of external funding for activities that could be interpreted as being “against the State and its constitutional order” must have “catastrophic” effects for independent journalism in Cuba, “a country where private media is illegal and newspapers are enlists are not able to obtain local funding.”

In a joint statement , the Council for the Democratic Transition in Cuba (CTDC), the Cuban Women’s Network (RFC) and the Association of Mothers and Family Members 11J for Amnesty (AMFA) highlighted that “the Penal Code is the basis of the Cuban repressive machine, which criminalizes non-violent dissidence without any hesitation. ”, containing criminal typologies “so loosely defined” that they “offer broad discretion”.

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