A Christian human rights organization is calling on people around the globe to join their campaign in petitioning for the release of a Cuban pastor who has been incarcerated without trial after he partook in peaceful protests across the island nation earlier this summer.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, a Cuban Protestant pastor, was arrested on July 11 after he and his 17-year-old son joined other Cubans in protesting against the country’s communist regime in Palma Soriano.
The protest was the largest anti-government demonstration in 60 years. Demonstrating Cubans were demanding change from their government due to shortages of food and medicine, which worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the protests were held peacefully, state security forces retaliated through violence and mass detentions of the Cuban people, including Fajardo and his son.
According to Fajardo’s wife, Maridilegnis Carballo, the couple’s son was later released, but her husband remains in jail.
In August, Pastor Fajardo was transferred to the Boniato Maximum Security Prison outside Santiago de Cuba. He faces charges for ‘disrespect’ and ‘public disorder,’ which could result in a prison sentence of between three and 20 years.
Additionally, Fajardo is not allowed visits from his wife and is only permitted three-minute phone calls with his family.
While their son has been released from prison, Carballo warned that he will face repercussions if she continues to speak out about her husband’s plight. She is also under threat of imprisonment herself for contacting international human rights organizations regarding her husband’s detention.
In response to the news, CSW has launched a campaign where people can sign a petition calling for Fajardo’s release.
“Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo has now spent over two months in prison in horrible conditions simply for participating in peaceful protests,” CSW’s Head of Campaigns Dave Mance said in a statement.
“CSW continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release, and we urge everyone who cares about justice to stand with us in sending a message to Cuba that the world is watching and that their treatment of Pastor Rosales Fajardo will not be tolerated,” he asserts.
Fajardo, 50, has worked as a pastor in Cuba for 20 years. In 2012, the government seized his church property.
Fajardo and his family later bought another home and led the Monte de Sion church, where he served up until his imprisonment.