A human rights organization devoted to protecting freedom of religion or belief has called on “everyone who cares about justice” to join its campaign to secure the release of a pastor, detained without trial for more than two months in Cuba for participating in peaceful protests against the nation’s Communist regime.
The Britain-based organization, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said September 15 that Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, a Protestant pastor, was transferred to the Boniato Maximum Security Prison outside the province of Santiago de Cuba in August, following his arrest July 11 in the midst of the anti-government protests that erupted in the region.
Fajardo, who leads the Monte de Sion Church and has been a pastor for more than 20 years, faces charges that include “disrespect” and “public disorder,” which are punishable with three to 20 years imprisonment, CSW said. His wife, Maridilegnis Carballo, is not permitted to visit him and aside from a few three-minute phone calls with his family, he has had no communication with the outside world.
The pastor’s 17-year-old son was arrested along with his father but was later released. Authorities have warned Carballo that her child will face repercussions if she continues to raise awareness about her husband’s dismal circumstances.
“She has also been threatened with imprisonment herself for speaking to international human rights organizations about her husband’s unjust detention,” according to CSW.
In 2012, authorities confiscated Fajardo’s church property. The couple was eventually able to buy a home, where 80 to 100 people worshipped weekly prior to the pastor’s arrest.
The pastor “has now spent over two months in prison in horrible conditions simply for participating in peaceful protests,” says CSW Head of Campaigns Dave Mance. “CSW continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release, and we urge everyone … to stand with us in sending a message to Cuba that the world is watching and that their treatment of Pastor Rosales Fajardo will not be tolerated.”
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