Euskadi-Cuba and journalist Manzaneda acquitted in Spain

Euskadi-Cuba and journalist Manzaneda acquitted in Spain
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Fecha de publicación: 
20 February 2024
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Just four days after a public hearing in this capital, the 31st Criminal Court of Madrid acquitted journalist José Manzaneda and the Euskadi-Cuba association.

Manzaneda, coordinator of the digital media Cubainformación, and Euskadi-Cuba were acquitted of all three charges of which they were accused by the president of the Prisoners Defenders association, Javier Larrondo.

“It was a trial with a tortuous spirit (that does not comply with the laws, malevolent); a complaint that distorts the meaning of freedom of expression, against me and against Euskadi-Cuba, for media purposes,” Manzaneda told Prensa Latina.

Larrondo, considered an enemy of the Cuban Revolution, advanced the process by which six years in prison were requested for each of the defendants, in addition to fines of tens of thousands of euros.

The Madrid court sentenced the head of Prisoners Defenders to pay part of the costs for his recklessness and bad faith when maintaining the accusation without arguments.

In a statement, defense lawyer Endika Zulueta recalled that the private prosecution requested six years in prison for the journalist and a fine of 8,400 euros, in addition to civil liability, jointly with the media, of 50,000 euros, and another fine of 100,000 euros for Euskadi-Cuba.

Zulueta explained that on October 5, 2020, Manzaneda published an article titled “Creating a Health Crisis in Cuba, the Objective of the War against its Medical Cooperation” on www.cubainformacion.tv, in which he criticized Larrondo’s position.

The criticism of the so-called “anti-Castro” element focused on the medical collaboration that the Cuban Government maintains in several countries around the world.

According to the ruling, in addition to pointing out that the text does not meet the legal and jurisprudential requirements to consider it slanderous or inciting hatred, it concludes that the description of “war criminal” is not insulting, and could be considered “a journalistic hyperbole” if analyzed “with the rest of the content of the article.”

The court ruling considered that the author may have acted with an “intention of criticism, recrimination or political censorship, which finds accommodation within the limits of freedom of expression.”

Larrondo was sentenced to pay part of the costs, considering that “there is appreciable recklessness on the part of the accusing party when he directed his accusation against the Euskadi-Cuba association” for the crimes of insults and slander, since a legal entity cannot legally commit such crimes.

“I must show my satisfaction for the ruling of the sentence, not only for having uncovered Mr. Larrondo’s tortious intentions in using criminal action as a means of attacking an ideological rival in relation to Cuban medical cooperation,” Zulueta noted.

Especially due to the consideration made by the ruling that said article is protected by the fundamental right to freedom of expression, it seems appropriate and reasonable to me, the lawyer said.

Manzaneda stressed that the purpose “was more than clear, to take advantage of the space to attack Cuban medical cooperation, health services and try to sink Cubainformación, limiting donations for its subsistence.”

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