The Cuban government notified the family of Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, who has been imprisoned since participating in peaceful protests last July, he has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Previously, a document the Cuban government sent to the United Nations indicated he had been sentenced to eight years. No explanation has been provided regarding the discrepancy.
The document from the Permanent Mission of Cuba in Geneva was submitted in response to a request from the UN Special Procedures—experts assigned by the UN to investigate and report on human rights—seeking information about the pastor’s treatment and detention.
At the time the document was made public, Fajardo’s wife—Maridilegnis Carballo—had not received any official word from the Cuban government regarding her husband’s sentence following his trial last Dec. 20-21.
The document the Cuban government sent to the UN claimed Fajardo, pastor of the nondenominational Monte de Sion Church in Palma Soriano, was involved in a violent attack on the headquarters of the Cuban Communist Party in Palma Soriano that left several people wounded.
Fajardo and his family disputed the charge. Video and photographic evidence showed armed police and Black Beret paramilitary personnel attacking unarmed civilians—including Fajardo—during a peaceful protest.
During Fajardo’s initial detention at Versalles State Security, he reportedly was beaten by guards and lost a tooth due to the physical abuse. The following month, he was moved to Boniato Maximum Security Prison.
Representatives of Christian Solidarity Worldwide—a United Kingdom-based human rights organization focused on persecuted Christians—continued to call for Fajardo’s release.
“While we welcome this slight reduction to Pastor Rosales Fajardo’s prison sentence, we maintain that he is innocent of the charges against him, and therefore that he should be a free man,” said Anna Lee Stangl, head of advocacy and Americas team leader for CSW.
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“The manner in which the Cuban authorities continue to change their story appears specifically designed to inflict confusion and pain on this innocent man and his family, and we call on the international community to do far more to hold the Cuban Communist Party to account for this and other egregious human rights violations against any who dare to challenge or question the government’s vice-like grip on power.”