Cuban rock dissident is fined

Aug. 30, 2008 at 5:26 PM

HAVANA, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A Cuban punk rocker whose lyrics often blasted the Castro government that rules the communist island has been fined but freed, says a human rights activist.

Gorki Aguila, 39, was fined only the equivalent of $28 Friday after facing a possible sentence of four years in prison for charges of ''pre-crime social dangerousness," The Miami Herald reported Saturday.

The short trial was officially closed to the media. But Elizardo Sanchez, head of the independent Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation was able to attend..

"The prosecution asked for a fine,'' he said later to reporters. "Fortunately, there will be no more time in prison.''

Aguila's arrest drew international attention. He could have become the first artist to serve jail time since Raul Castro took over power from his brother Fidel two years ago, proclaiming publicly that it was time to air complaints.

Aguila's direct attacks on the Castro brothers and his profanity-laced lyrics appear to have crossed the line on what even the new Cuban government would take.

"It's one thing to say, `the government makes mistakes' or 'this thing doesn't work,' said Uva de Aragon of Florida International University's Cuban Research Institute. "Going directly after Raul and Fidel is something else.''

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