Without Access to Justice (III)
The Havana Provincial Court sanctioned Olga Lidia Ramírez Maura, for the crime of human trafficking. She pleaded not guilty and hired for her contract defender, in the “Salvador Allende” Central Havana Collective Firm in the capital, the lawyer Max Averoff Bolaños. She trusted him when he told her not to speak in court.
According to Case 111/09, the players “Estayle Manuel Hernández Apesteñis, Reynaldo Fajardo Véliz, Jhoyce su Casella, Reinier Roll Valdés-Basante, Yasmany Torres y Alexei Gill Pérez” were contacted “in the sports fields or in places previously agreed.” There they planned to abandon the country to play in the professional leagues, “where they would receive lucrative contracts in cash for their performance.”
The Cuban Penal Code punishes with imprisonment those who without being authorized, and with a profit motive, organize or promote the exit of persons from the national territory to third countries.
The flight was to be on a fast boat to an intermediate country, but the sentence does not specify which one. The ultimate destination was to be the United States. Supposedly, Olga Lidia was going to leave the island along with the athletes.
The Court came to a conviction of the facts as established by the confession of the player Reinaldo Fajardo, who said Maura Ramirez, by telephone, had suggested to him “a place” … “to leave the country by sea in a boat that would reach Cuba in those days.”
The court decision argues that Olga Lidia’s foreign contact was Franklin García Castro, a Venezuelan citizen linked to professional sports agents. They communicated through emails. As explained in the sentence, the information contained in them was “in another context and in a cryptic form.”
But the correspondence was decisive for the court, “after knowing the intentions” of the accused, who was sentenced to seven years in prison. Her defense attorney, without consulting her, made her responsible for the crime of illegally leaving the country.
She filed a complaint against the lawyer with the National Organization of Collective Law Offices (ONBC) for breach of contract. The jurist was administratively sanctioned. He worked for six months as a messenger at the Center. The written response of the institution is proof of her helplessness at trial and cause for review of the case by the court.
But the “Salvador Allende” Collective Firm has been ordered not to give a written response. Maura Ramirez will not rest until the authorities give her the right of access to justice. She recently filed a complaint against the institution at the Ministry of Justice. She is still waiting for the response.