Home > Miguel Iturria Savón, Translator: Ricote > Presumption of Guilt

Presumption of Guilt

On setting sail from a Florida Marina on his pleasure boat on October 12, 2007, the contractor Yamil Domínguez Ramos planned on enjoying the annual spectacle of whales and dolphins in the water park of Cancun, and then flying to Havana to spend a few days with family before returning to the United States.  He did not imagine that bad weather would force him to seek refuge in the Marina Hemingway, to the west of the Cuban capital, where the suspicions and bad intentions of officials and functionaries transformed a detour into tragedy, when he was accused of illegally trafficking people, and then sentenced to ten years in prison.

Yamil came with hoisted flag, lights lit, with the registration of his boat, with his GPS and all documents in order, included his U.S. and Cuban Passports, the appurtenances of the yacht, some money and some personal possessions.  Upon explaining the emergency circumstances to the border guard, he was notified that Cuban-Americans were not permitted to come ashore, something which does not appear in the catalogs given to boat owners in our marinas. This was the beginning of mix-ups, investigations and a montage of proofs created to demolish his innocence.  From that time on, his mother, sister and wife have been appealing to personalities within the Ministry of the Interior, the Cuban legal system and the Cuban prison system.

Inés María Ramos Napoles, mother of Yamil, summarizes in a Havana document dated February 28, 2009, the process by which mistrust, suspicions, fears, threats and crimes fabricated by the officials were transferred from Marina Hemingway to the headquarters of State Security (Villa Marista) and from there to the prison Combinado del Este, where the sun scarcely shines, and where family visits are not permitted, in spite of the efforts and resources of their lawyer, and the decree of the Supreme Court which ordered the review of the sentence.

The presumption of guilt and the procedural infractions remain in force in spite of letters of denunciation to the President, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Republic.  The fact of having been born in Cuba, and now being an American citizen aggravated his situation, because for the coast guard the yachts from the north come only to transport people and drugs, and make attempts against the Security of the State.  His wife was forced to give false testimony and the family to pay in dollars for all legal assistance.

When the Supreme Court annulled the sentence upon hearing that the wife’s testimony was made under duress, combined with the absence of any proof related to the trafficking of people, the Provincial Court of Havana declared the same sentence with a different date, which was then ratified a year later by the same Supreme Court, evidence that implicates the judicial system.

Two and a half years after a swell forced the contractor Yamil Domínguez Ramos to take refuge in a Havana port, the city of his birth, his family and friends still fight to prove his innocence.  The letters of his mother, the testimony of his wife and some photos and documents were posted on the blog Injusticia notoria on the web page Voces cubanas. The details of the case illustrate the rights that have been breached.

Translated by ricote

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