After receiving a fine for civil disobedience, punk-rock singer and musician Gorki Águila could walk out of the court room as a free man.
The court dismissed a more serious ‘social dangerousness’ charge that could have sent him to prison for four years.
On 29 August, following a two-hour hearing which was closed to the press, the court ordered Gorki Águila to pay 600 pesos (28 US dollars) to be payed in increments of 300 — and then released the 39-year-old singer, reported several international news agencies.
News of the singers’ arrest on 25 August had quickly spread through the internet, and a crowd of foreign diplomats, foreign correspondents, government press officials and Gorki Aquila’s supporters waited in the street outside the court. Gorki Aquila was led into court in handcuffs.
Freemuse has received lots of e-mails, and we say to thank you for the support and concern. Whether the huge international media coverage did play a role in the courts decision or not is difficult to say at this point. One Cuban journalist wrote to Freemuse::
“A truly historic day never before seen in almost 50 years of dictatorship in Cuba. Gorki thanks everyone who helped him get out of jail. He sends everyone ‘un abrazo’. Says ‘We all won!’
The illegal but tolerated Cuban Human Rights Commission recently issued a report saying the Cuban government had 219 political prisoners behind bars and that short-term detentions of government opponents had increased dramatically in the first half of 2008.
Photo: courtesy of Cuban film director Aaron Alayo who is presently working on a film about Gorki which was shot in May 2008
A group of musicians has criticized new U.S. regulations that will further limit travel to Cuba, urging the United States to build bridges to the island instead of tearing them down. The musicians tied their comments to the release of the album: Bridge to Havana