People sentenced to this penalty are assigned to a ranch or a farm of some sort, and believe me it’s not light work
An Evangelical pastor in Cuba has been sentenced to one year of heavy labor and house arrest for defying the Communist government and insisting that his children be homeschooled.
International Christian Concern reported on Thursday that Pastor Ramon Rigal, leader of Iglesia de Dios en Cristo, has openly stated that his decision to take his children out of state-run schools was based on his Christian faith.
As Diario de Cuba noted last week, Rigal had originally been sentenced by Guantanamo courts to one year imprisonment, but a recent adjudication led to a modified reduction of the punishment.
The pastor said that his legal team proved that he did not commit any serious criminal act, but religious freedom advocates warned that the heavy labor sentence is still a serious punishment.
“Correctional labor is a form of forced physical punishment, where the state typically chooses the locations and the working conditions,” Pastor Mario F. Barroso, a religious freedom activist from the Patmos Institute, told ICC.
“People sentenced to this penalty are assigned to a ranch or a farm of some sort, and believe me it’s not light work.”
Cuban citizens took to street to protest for the release of Pastor Ramon Rigal.