HAVANA: Twenty Cubans who had participated in unprecedented anti-government protests last year, including five minors, have been sentenced to up to two decades in prison for sedition, rights group Justicia 11J said Tuesday (Feb 15).
The group, which gets its name from the date the protests started, on Jul 11, published the names and ages it had obtained of 20 people sentenced in the eastern province of Holguin.
A 50-year-old man received the harshest penalty of 20 years in jail, while five youths aged 16 and 17 were sent away for up to five years, the list showed.
Although the legal age for adulthood in Cuba is 18, legal responsibility and obligatory military service is applied from the age of 16.
More than 700 Cubans, including 55 under the age of 18, have been charged over the spontaneous outburst against economic hardship and rights violations that saw thousands take to the streets last year.
Protests in 50 cities on July 11 and 12 were marked by cries of "Freedom," "Down with the dictatorship" and "We are hungry."
The Cubalex rights group said one person died and dozens were injured in the resultant clampdown, and 1,355 were detained - of whom more than 700 remain behind bars in a country where public displays of discontent are rare and risky.
A total of 172 had been convicted, though no details are known about their sentences, before the 20 from Holguin.
The government response to the protests elicited global condemnation.
Justicia 11J called for the "immediate liberation" of all protesters.