A court in Cuba has upheld the seven year prison sentence against a Protestant pastor who was arrested while taking part in peaceful protests in July 2021.
Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, and 14 others, had appealed their convictions on charges relating to their participation in nationwide protests across Cuba. Demonstrators were protesting against the Cuban government’s response to the Covid pandemic and nationwide shortages of food and medicines.
Rev Rosales Fajardo has been imprisoned in Boniato Maximum Security Prison since August and was tried and convicted of charges of ‘disrespect’, ‘assault’, ‘criminal incitement’ and ‘public disorder’ in December.
The charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says that during the trial only the prosecutor’s side was permitted to give evidence, which included the testimonies of at least 12 policemen.
CSW says Rev Rosales Fajardo has been targeted by the government for over a decade because of his leadership of an unregistered church in the city of Palma Soriano.
CSW’s Head of Advocacy Anna Lee Stangl said: “CSW is disappointed but not surprised that the Cuban authorities have rejected Reverend Rosales Fajardo’s appeal.
"They have continued to inflict misery on this innocent man and his family, as well as many others who should never have been imprisoned for exercising their fundamental rights to peaceful association and assembly.
"We call on the authorities to reconsider this unjust decision, to release Pastor Lorenzo and all those detained in relation to the 11 July protests immediately and without condition, and to create an enabling environment for the exercise of fundamental human rights for all citizens.
"The international community must continue to follow this case closely, holding Cuba to account.”