Gabriela Zequeira Hernández — a seventeen-year-old Cuban girl — was reportedly given an eight-month prison sentence for her alleged participation in widespread anti-regime protests.
She also says she was sexually assaulted while being detained by Cuban officials.
BBC Mundo reports:
Gabriela Zequeira received her prison sentence on Thursday after being tried for about six hours for “public disorder” along with 11 other defendants, said her mother Yoanis Hernández, who witnessed the trial.
He added that he does not know where his daughter was transferred after the trial, which in his opinion was carried out without presenting evidence that Zequeira had participated in the July 11 demonstrations, the largest in Cuba in several decades.
“When the trial was over, they let me see her for three minutes. The only thing I could do was hug her and kiss her, and nothing else,” Hernández told BBC Mundo. “She told me: ‘Mommy, stand strong, nothing is going to happen to me but I am going to appeal.’ She is aware that she did not do anything.”
BBC Mundo reports that Zequeria was arrested despite having no apparent role in the protests:
Hernández said that his daughter, an accounting student, was detained in the municipality of San Miguel del Padrón in Havana when she was going to a hairdresser, saw a demonstration in the distance and decided to return, according to the minor in her own trial.
He specified that Zequeira was arrested by “black wasps,” as members of the Special National Brigade of the Cuban government are known in Cuba, which this week was sanctioned by the United States for “repressing” protesters.
“One took her arm, the other by the neck, they pulled her by the hair and put her inside the truck,” Hernández said. “I am devastated, they have taken a piece of me. I don’t sleep, I don’t eat thinking about her: what is she doing? What are they doing to her?”
In a video posted to YouTube — shared by lawmakers such as Rep. María Salazar (R-FL) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — Zequeira recounted that the regime forced her to strip naked while being detained.
“They said, ‘Take off your clothes. Take off your blouse.’ They took off my bra to see if I had needles,” said Zequeira. “I don’t know why they did that to me. I told them, ‘I’m a minor. I can’t be here. I’m a minor!’ They paid no attention to me.”
Horrifying. Gabriela Hernández is 17. After protesting on July 11, the Cuban regime sentenced her to 8 months in jail in a summary trial with no defense allowed. She describes how Cuban security agents made her strip naked in jail and touch her genitals.#SOSCuba #PatriaYVida pic.twitter.com/J9apNdAjVp
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) July 28, 2021
“He told me, ‘Now take off your shorts… and your panties.’ I took off my shorts, I took off my panties. And that is when they told me, ‘Cough.’ And they told me to do squats, and to press down under my belly. They told me to finger myself to see if I was hiding something inside. I said, ‘I’m a minor. I can’t do that to myself.’”
“The savage Castro regime is sexually assaulting young girls who have taken to the streets demanding freedom,” commented Salazar. “This is unforgivable.”
“The regime in Cuba are a bunch of sadists,” added Rubio.
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