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New Cuban Penal Law threatens Human Rights

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According to the new Cuban laws police officers can address directly any infringement of the Penal Law, with penalties of up to 1 year's imprisonment and/or fines not higher than 15 thousand pesos, without being required to report the case to the courts. In October, they will be granted authority over offenses of up to 3 years' imprisonment and/or fines no higher than 50 thousand pesos, with the approval of a prosecutor

Policía Nacional Revolucionaria cubana

July 22.─ The reforms of the Penal Code and the Penal Procedure Act adopted by the State Council to "ensure greater effectiveness and efficiency in the prevention and the fight against crime" raises a red flag about the situation of human rights in Cuba.

The amendments will come into force on October 1st. Their main objective is to expand the power of the police forces and lighten the burden of the courts, a solution that results in more than one problem. The main one is: Are the police officers trained to legally evaluate and judge a case?

This power enables them to judge and punish with fines, which represent 27% of the penalties established in the Penal Code. With the new amendments, these will now represent 52% of the penalties, and police officers will only need approval from a prosecutor to enforce 26%, a good way to contribute "to the consistent enforcement of the Penal Code policies outlined by the State."

In the amendments the guarantees of due process were not taken into account. The police officers decide whether or not to take the citizen to court and the amount of the fine. In addition, the assistance of a defense lawyer has not been foreseen for any of these cases.

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