The Castro dictatorship views those Cubans who oppose it as a matter of principle as nothing more than common criminals.
When it wants to put them away in its gulag, the dictatorship charges them with "common" crimes like "assault" and "threatening." It gives the repression a veneer of legal legitimacy the dictatorship sees as necessary to disguise what really is going on.
A day after he was arrested, Cervantes on Sept. 29 was sentenced to 2 years in prison after he was convicted of "injuries," another one of those "common" crimes the dictatorship uses to try to silence its political opponents.
According to MCL leader Oswaldo Payá, the charge stems from an incident a few days earlier when a real criminal — probably someone sent by the authorities — went to Cervantes' home and began cursing him. He then pulled out a knife and tried to stab Cervantes, an attack Cervantes and a neighbor were able to fight off.
The attack culminated several recent incidents targeting Cervantes, including one in which a police agent warned him that he would not be allowed to participate in the next stage of the Varela Project campaign, according to Payá.
Payá said Cervantes' imprisonment is nothing more than a "gimmick" by the dictatorship to attack the MCL and to derail the Varela Project.
In this audio recording, Oswaldo Payá describes what happened to Agustin Cervantes, including how he had no chance to prepare a legal defense. The police went to his house on Monday and said, "It's time for your trial," and took him into custody.
Payá also posted on his Web site a time line, in English, of how the Cuban authorities targeted Cervantes and other MCL activists, culminating with Cervantes' imprisonment. The insidiousness of the Cuban secret police is not surprising, but the list of events is still chilling. (En español, aquí.)