Cuban Protestant Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, who was detained by State Security officers on 11 July during peaceful protests in Palma Soriano, has been transferred to the Boniato Maximum Security Prison outside the city of Santiago de Cuba.
Pastor Rosales Fajardo was held incommunicado for most of his detention, and his family was repeatedly denied contact with him before 7 August. His son, who was arrested with his father, was also initially detained at the same time, but then separated from him and was considered ‘disappeared’ before his release on 17 July.
On 7 August, the pastor’s wife, Maridilegnis Carballo, was finally permitted to speak to her husband in a three-minute phone call. She had repeatedly been blocked from seeing him when attempting to bring him food and personal hygiene items while he was held in a State Security facility in Versalles, a suburb of Santiago de Cuba.
She told CSW: “In the midst of so much fog, God gifted me a ray of Light. Today I spoke to my husband, only for three minutes, but they were three minutes of weeping, of happiness, of encouragement; it was very special and to be able to hear his voice, I give thanks to God for this gift."
The Boniato Maximum Security Prison, built in 1945, is notorious for its terrible conditions, particularly at the height of summer. It is also usually a prison where convicted criminals already serving sentences are sent, but Pastor Rosales Fajardo has not yet been tried or sentenced. There are concerns that the Cuban government may actively encourage other prisoners to mistreat the pastor – a technique which the authorities have used in the past.
Kori Porter, CEO of CSW USA, said: “CSW continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Pastor Rosales Fajardo, who should not be detained at all, let alone incarcerated in a maximum security prison. Whilst we are glad that Maridilegnis Carballo has finally been permitted to speak to her husband, the treatment of this family by the Cuban authorities has been cruel and illegal. We continue to call on the international community to hold the Cuban government to account for its violent response to protests and subsequent unjust treatment of protesters.”