Christians are being urged to pray for a Cuban pastor who is facing ten years in prison for participating in peaceful anti-government protests held during the summer.
Since his arrest in July, he has been allowed one 90-minute visit with his wife, which took place in mid-October. Apart from the visit, he has only been permitted a few three-minute phone calls with his family.
Speaking to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, his wife Maridilegnis Carballo said: “Today, the 26th of October, he is turning 50 years old. Today is another of so many difficult days. Our girl has been in a very bad state since we prayed together last night for her father. May God continue to strengthen us.”
Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo was detained with two other pastors, but is the only one to have been kept in prison.
“We're thankful though, that the other two pastors have been released, but they are still facing harassment as are others. And we still don't know quite why Pastor Lorenzo is facing this level of targeting and why he is still being held,” Kiri Kankhwende, press and public affairs team leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), told Premier.
Pastor Yarian Sierra Madrigal and Pastor Yéremi Blanco Ramírez were released and threatened with imprisonment if they engage in any activity perceived by the government as critical of the system.
However, Pastor Lorenzo has been charged with a series of crimes including 'disrespect' and 'public disorder' and his family is very concerned for his safety.
“They were sent a message by someone claiming to be a guard, who said that he had taken part in a vicious beating of the pastor, before he was moved to the security prison where it's being held now. Before, he was held in another prison where he was beaten so badly that he lost a tooth. And this guard said that he was worried for the pastors’ safety if he stayed in prison,” Kankhwende continued.
CSW’s founder president Mervyn Thomas said: “We renew our demand that the Cuban government drop all charges and immediately release Pastor Rosales Fajardo and cease its harassment of Pastors Sierra Madrigal and Blanco Ramírez, as well as other religious leaders who are doing nothing more than attempting to exercise their right to peacefully and freely express themselves, a right that is inextricably linked with freedom of religion or belief.”
Christians are also being encouraged to write to their MP to raise awareness of the pastor’s case.