A German dad who left his wife and daughters in Dresden to visit relatives in Cuba has been jailed for 25 years after he was arrested while apparently doing nothing more than filming an anti-government demonstration.
Luis Frometa Compte, 59, who moved to the East German DDR in 1985 and worked as a lumberjack before it merged with the West, had created a new life for himself with his family in Dresden.
He had even obtained a German passport, giving him dual nationality together with his Cuban citizenship.
But that life now seems over after he was jailed for 25 years in Havana, the capital of Cuba, on charges of ‘incitement to insurrection’ and ‘public nuisance’.
Back in Germany, his family says that he was only in the area where the demonstration took place by chance, and he was one of 2,000 people arrested when he was spotted filming what was going on, apparently “out of curiosity”.
The protests against the Cuban government when he was arrested took place on 11th January, and he has been in custody since then.
Until now, he has been held in the Combinado del Este maximum security prison, and it is believed he will remain there to serve his sentence.
His daughter Janie Frometa, 34, told the German daily Bild that her father had not been planning to do anything with the video and it was just for private purposes.
She said: “We believed in the good until the very end and hoped that our dad would be released. But Cuba is an unjust state.”
She added: “We’ve cried a lot, but we haven’t given up hope.”
The Foreign Office in Berlin, which is not allowed consular representation in Cuba, has “taken note of” the judgment and is reportedly already “in close contact with the Cuban authorities”.
Frometa’s lawyer has also reportedly appealed the verdict.
Martin Lessenthin, a spokesman for the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR), revealed that as well as jail for the German citizen, his brother-in-law has also since been arrested.
The spokesman added: “With such a long prison sentence for a dual national, the Cuban government shows that it makes no distinction between local and foreign citizens. It takes rigorous action against anyone who is a thorn in its side.
“Luis Frometa Compte has not done anything wrong, yet 25 years in prison await him. It’s a scandal and a severe blow to his family…”
The ISHR demanded his immediate release, as well as the release of “all political prisoners in Cuba”.
Cuba has a one-party government along Marxist-Leninist socialist lines. Its current leader is Miguel Diaz-Canel, who took over from Raul Castro, the brother of the famous Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, in 2021.