Cuban punk rock singer Gorki Aguila has escaped a four-year jail sentence after charges against him were reduced.

Aguila and his band Porno Para Ricardo are relatively little-known on the island and do not play concerts, but release their music online. However, the 39 year-old's case attracted some international attention after Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights, attended Aguila's court hearing.

Aguila claims he has been a victim of state repression against freedom of expression. He previously served a two-year prison term after being found guilty in 2003 of drug trafficking charges, which the singer says were invented.

This time, he was arrested Aug. 25 in Havana and charged with the offence of "social pre-crime danger," for which the maximum sentence is four years in jail.

However, after Sanchez' involvement raised the profile of the case, the charges were reduced to "public disorder," and Aguila was instead fined 600 pesos ($26).

Aguila has been leader of Porno Para Ricardo for 10 years, a time he has dedicated to writing aggressive anti-revolutionary lyrics. His attacks on former president Fidel Castro and Fidel's brother Raul, the current president, are especially disrespectful, as Aguila himself happily concedes.

One of the songs on Porno Para Ricardo's forthcoming album, "El Comandante II," is about Raul Castro. An earlier release entitled "El Comandante I" was dedicated to Fidel, and includes the lyric: "he wants us to applaud him after his speeches [full] of delirious shit."

The singer's avowedly pro-Castro father paid the fine handed down Aug. 30 as it is nearly double his son's claimed monthly wage, earned working in a silk-screen workshop making film posters.

A statement on the band's website (www.pornopararicardo.com) claims that "Gorki has committed just one crime: to have enough balls to denounce the violations of the tyranny against the Cuban people and the illegitimacy of the hereditary regime imposed on Cuba."