The Cuban government has officially informed the family of imprisoned Protestant Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo that he has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
The sentence is one year shorter than the eight-year sentence that was initially communicated in a document sent from the Permanent Mission of Cuba in Geneva to the United Nations (UN). No reason has been given for the change to the pastor’s sentence.
Pastor Rosales Fajardo was arrested after participating in peaceful protests that took place across the island on 11 July 2021. He has been imprisoned in Boniato Maximum Security Prison since August 2021, and was tried on charges of ‘disrespect’, ‘assault’, ‘criminal incitement’ and ‘public disorder’ on 20 and 21 December 2021.
While the pastor’s sentence was reportedly decided soon after his trial, he and his family only learned of his initial eight-year prison sentence in April via the Cuban government’s communication to the UN, which acknowledged that the ‘parties’ had yet to be officially informed, and made multiple false allegations regarding the reasons for which the pastor was detained, and the conditions under which he has been held.
CSW’s Head of Advocacy and Americas Team Leader Anna Lee Stangl said: “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. 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.”