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HAVANA, October 1, 1998, Cuba Free Press. >


HAVANA - Sedition, a crime described in the Penal Code but little used, has been charged against the four leaders who form the Working Group of Internal Dissidence: Vladimiro Roca, Marta Beatriz Roque, Flix Bonne, y Ren Gmez Manzano.

The word "sedition" usually is associated with violent uprisings against military discipline or public order. It has additional meanings here, which were applied formally on September 16 against the Working Group. The prosecutor said they had committed "other acts against the security of the state in relation to the crime of sedition."

Prosecutor Edelmira Pedrizs allegations were the same as those leveled recently against another dissident Reinaldo Alfaro Garcia during his August 28 trial. Pedriz based his latest accusations on three papers issued in 1997 by the Working Group: * An open letter addressed to foreigners seeking to invest in Cuba; * * A call to compatriots in exile; and * * A document stating, "The Homeland Belongs to All of Us," elaborating on a proposal by communist leaders to the Fifth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in October 1997. *

In support of his charges, the prosecutor cited the abstention of the four from the 1997 elections that were ordered by the National Assembly of Peoples Power, the fact that their documents and voices had been used by Radio Marti, which broadcasts daily for a U.S. agency, the Voice of America, directed at Cuba from Florida, and that the four had various contacts with foreign news correspondents and diplomats accredited in Havana.

The official notice of the charges against the four was provided to Dr. Amelia Rodriguez, attorney for V. Roca, on September 24 when Hurricane Georges was smashing against the archipelago and being the center of attention.

But the natural disaster did not prevent key communications media across the world from providing information about the charges. Thus it was that Pope John Paul II, the premier of Canada and others of note have asked for the release of the four. The case remains well covered both inside and outside Cuba.

Besides a voluminous brief with numbered sections and videotapes about the actions of the accused, the presentation by the state will be supported by various witnesses, such as those prominent in the Cuban Company of Personnel Employment (ACOREX S.A.): Ileana Maria Padrn Lemus and Luca del Pilar Valds Rodrguez; functionaries of the International Relations Committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, and instructors of the Office of State Security: Lt. Col. Orlando Soroa Clavera and Maj. Juan Carlos Atencio Acosta.

Expert witnesses include two officials of the Central Criminalistic Laboratory, someone licensed by the Partys high school, and a specialist from the Cuban Monitoring and Analysis Institute of Radio and Television.

In his provisional conclusions, prosecutor Pedriz says experts from the criminalistic organization will testify that the original text of the document on "The Homeland Belongs to All of Us" was prepared partly on equipment used by Roque Cabello, as well as a Remington typewriter used by Gmez Manzano.

The four are described as "unemployed," without previous convictions. It also is noted that "none of the accused is enrolled in our mass organizations and their principal contacts are with counterrevolutionaries, especially those living outside Cuba, who send them materials and money to carry out their criminal acts and guarantee them living standards superior to their capabilities."

Another part of the prosecutors allegations says, "During the course of the investigation, transcripts were obtained of interviews given by the accused for news broadcasts from the radio station named Radio Marti and on two occasions the name is mentioned of a reporter for that station: Alvaro D. Insua.

Among "evidence" confiscated by the state are listed calculators, video cameras, batteries, battery chargers, computers, printing machines and parts, recording machines, radio-transmitters, audio and video cassettes, computer diskettes and other office equipment. Also confiscated by the government agents were US$135, which had been sent from outside Cuba to a bank for the financial help of the accused for furtherance of the actions above described.

The acts against state security which are described are articulated as crimes in Article 125-C and Article 100-C, both in the Penal Code. Sanctions proposed by the prosecutor are six years in prison for Roca Antnez, and five years for the other three. All four are said to be over 50 years of age and suffering various health problems.

Tania Quintero, Cuba Free Press

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