Julio Alfredo Ferrer Tamayo

* 1958

  • “In the Cuban criminal proceeding, there is no right to defense. Neither is the process itself respected. And specifically, in terms of the ‘danger index’, it is worse. In this case, there is much less possibility for defense. I’ll explain why. The authorities of the Ministry of the Interior, or the police authorities, prepare a file about a person whom they consider to be in a ‘dangerous state’. That file kept completely secret from that person. The person does not know even that this file is being prepared against him. The people or authorities whose testimony is used to justify this file, give their testimony with the certainty that they will never appear before a court to publicly ratify the testimony they gave. In other words, the one who gives that testimony is sure that he can say what he wants to say to the detriment of the person, and he will never have to face any consequences. So, this file that is under the control of the prosecution, is presented by the prosecution to the court. In that process of presenting it to the court, the person is arrested – the person whose dangerous state they are going to declare. At that time, the person is detained and cannot choose a lawyer to meet with or to prepare a defense with. The person only has the right to be defended by a lawyer when the file is already in court and has been accepted by the court, and the trial is to be held in order to declare him in a dangerous state. There you can come with a lawyer. But when that lawyer arrives there, he is unable to present any type of evidence in favor of that person. It is only there that he can see the file, briefly, quickly, and have a very short interview with the person he is going to defend. In my eyes, this kind of defense is not even remotely a defense. It is totally inquisitive. It is like a lion-monkey fight. With the monkey tied up.”

  • “I have become a professional, not regarded kindly by them and considered, I think without a cause and without any reason, an enemy. So, we do not have another chance for the moment to find a way to get safe. And then emigrate for the time necessary for Cuba to certainly become a state of right, where there are guarantees for its citizens.”

  • “I presented the copies that accredited that I was her advocate from the initial instance, from the organ of instruction, and then what happened? They were forced to recognize that I was the advocate. What should they have done at that moment? Let’s see – go back to the beginning of the process and give me all the rights of an advocate. What did they do? The court falsified a new document. The document by which the court accepts the accusation is called an opening order, they had already made one in which they had consigned that my wife did not have an advocate. When I proved to them that I was the advocate for the preparatory phase, they had to annul that and take action with the authorities, especially with the instructor. But to protect the instructor, they dictated a new opening order with a date after the presentation of my documents, to see that my documents had not been extracted. From there the conflict with the court began again, in which the judges already coordinated with the police, with the prosecution, to see how they could take me out of the process. They started creating obstructions for me, until they decided to give my wife an ex offo lawyer. [Q: Do you think your wife’s imprisonment has anything to do with you?] “Of course it has to do with me. It is a reprisal fundamentally against me. Because it was not possible for them to do it directly against me because I did not work directly for any state institution – do you understand me? At that time, I was linked to the Cuban Legal Association and I did not carry out any activity with a state institution, through which they could have attacked me.”

  • “No, in Cuba, there is no political crime. Why? Because as explained in an interview on one occasion when Fidel [Castro] visited Jamaica, and they asked him about that, in Cuba, according to that prevailing political conception in Cuba, there is no political crime, based on the concept that Fidel explained on that occasion, about who is a political delinquent and who a criminal... According to the conception that prevails, or to which Cuban criminal law is affiliated, the political prisoner is the one who tries to establish with his struggle and with his activity a superior social regime. And according to the conception given by him [Fidel Castro], about those who qualify or consider themselves fighters for human rights who are opposed to the government, what they intend is to return to a retrograde regime, or to a less advanced regime. That’s the reasoning behind the concept that they have no political prisoners here.”

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    La Habana, Cuba, 08.06.2018

    duration: 01:49:10
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Cuban criminal proceedings are like a lion-monkey fight. With the monkey tied up

Julio Ferrer during the recording in 2018
Julio Ferrer during the recording in 2018
photo: archivo de Post Bellum, autor Rolando Lobaina

Julio Ferrer Tamayo was born on 25 October 1958 in Santiago de Cuba in a humble neighborhood. As a child he took an interest in law, since his father Julio Lorenzo Ferrer was a popular judge at the district court. First, he studied the pre-vocational military school of the Marañon Brothers in Daiquiri, which was part of a program of the Ministry of the Interior, for which he was later accepted without problems to the University of Havana, where he graduated in 1985 with a degree in Law. Immediately after finishing his studies, he began working at the courts of the Ministry of Justice. First, he was appointed Professional Judge of the Municipal Court of Guanabacoa, a year later he was promoted to the Fifth Chamber of the Criminal Court of the Provincial Court, and later became President of the Sixth Chamber of Criminal Matters in Havana. Working as a judge in Guanabacoa, he opposed imprisonment merely due to being on the “danger index”, which caused him problems with the regime, and in 1993 he ended his service as judge. It was impossible for him to start working at collective law firms, but finally, around 1994, he was accepted into one, from where he was expelled ten years later. In 2008, he began to help Cuban dissidents in matters of law and became associated with the Cuban Legal Association. In 2012 his wife Marienys Pavó Oñate was stood on trial and imprisoned. Julio was also imprisoned from 20 February to 21 September 2015. He was constantly prevented from playing the role of his wife’s lawyer, and she is currently still in the Western Women’s Prison. Julio works as a specialist lawyer at the Cubalex Legal Information Center and remains under the threat of imprisonment for the alleged commission of the crime of falsification of public documents.