The Cuban government has reportedly forced a group of Christians to cancel a prayer event for mother and wives of political prisoners.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said the pastors who planned the event were recently arrested and questioned for six hours and then threatened with imprisonment if they did not suspend the prayer event.
The 'Breaking the Chains' prayer event was planned for 29th -30th April and organised by Pastors Mario Travieso and Velmis Mariño, a married couple who lead the Mighty Wind Ministry in the city of Las Tunas in eastern Cuba.
CSW said on 11th April Pastor Travieso was walking to meet his wife for lunch when he was randomly detained. His wife was detained separately, and the couple were taken by State Security agents and police officers to the Provincial Centre for Criminal Instruction where they were interrogated by counterintelligence agents.
They were threatened with imprisonment if they did not cancel prayer event.
The next day the wife of imprisoned Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, Maridilegnis Carballo, told CSW that she had received a phone call from a State Security agent who refused to identify himself by name. He accused Mrs Carballo of having responsibility for organising the prayer event and threatened her with imprisonment if she participated in it.
According to CSW, the agent told Mrs Carballo that he would be "watching her constantly," assuring her that "we have eyes and ears everywhere." He warned her that they evidence to build a criminal case against her.
The following day, Pastor Travieso posted pictures on social media along with a statement that State Security had placed a cordon around the home of Vivian Barredo Toledo, the secretary for the Breaking the Chains event, to stop anyone from entering or leaving the house.
Those events came before a number of continued threats and harassment targeting church members and those who planned to be part of the event.
CSW's head of advocacy and Americas team leader Anna Lee Stangl said: "The volume of resources that the Cuban government has put into stopping the Breaking the Chains prayer event is a clear demonstration of its deep-rooted fear of any relationship between religious groups and the families of those it has wrongfully imprisoned. CSW stands in solidarity with Pastors Travieso and Medina Mariño, and with all the mothers and wives who had simply hoped to come together to worship and pray in a peaceful religious event.
"We call on the international community to make it clear to the Cuban government that all political prisoners must be released and that it must cease its threats and harassment targeting religious leaders immediately."