Ex-Cuban judge hits country’s legal system
A former high-ranking judge in Cuba has joined an antigovernment activist in revealing information from secret government documents that show the government is holding thousands of inmates on dubious charges and has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
The revelations by Edel González Jiménez, who spent more than 15 years on the bench and once supervised 65 other judges, are believed to be the first public challenge to the Cuban government by a top member of the judiciary.
“The repression that I am seeing against part of my people is not what I want for my people,” he said during a news conference Monday in Madrid, where he was joined by members of an organization that works on behalf of political prisoners and by members of the European Parliament.
González told the audience that his wife had advised him not to speak out but that he had gone against her wishes because he felt it was his duty.
González said Cuba’s judiciary was often controlled by state security forces that can manufacture cases against political opponents — a statement that critics will readily agree with but that is surprising coming from a man who insisted that he remains a faithful member of the Communist Party of Cuba and a believer in Fidel Castro’s project.
His avowed support of the government makes his words significantly troubling for a country that paints dissidents as mercenaries for Washington.
González was joined at the news conference by Javier Larrondo, a longtime anti- Castro activist who runs an organization called Prisoners Defenders in Madrid, in publicly announcing his call for the Cuban government to respect civil rights.
“This is an important blow to the regime,” Larrondo said.
Edel González Jiménez, left, and Javier Larrondo say Cuba is holding thousands of inmates on dubious charges.