The government of Cuba has failed to respond to a joint request from five United Nations human rights advocates concerning the status of a Protestant pastor who has been in prison for the past seven months.
Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, the pastor of the Monte de Sion Independent Church in Palma Soriano, was arrested in July 2021 for participating in peaceful protests against the communist government.
Fajardo was initially held at the Versailles State Security facility, where guards allegedly beat him and urinated on him. He reportedly lost a tooth due to physical abuse.
The pastor was then taken to Boniato Maximum Security Prison the following month, where he remains to this day. In December, Fajardo was tried on charges of “disrespect,” criminal incitement and public disorder.
While no sentencing has been issued yet, Fajardo’s wife said he could face up to 10 years in prison.
In that same month, five United Nations human rights groups sent a joint communication to the Cuban government about the charges made against Fajardo and why he has been detained incommunicado.
“Without intending to prejudge the veracity of the information received, we wish to express our profound concern at the detention, subsequent short-term forced disappearance, mistreatment and prosecution of Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo for his participation in peaceful protests. We regret in particular that he has been detained incommunicado, subjected to forced disappearance for three days, and that even today he has very limited contact with his relatives,” the joint communication states.
As reported by the Baptist Standard, UN Special Procedures also asked for information about Fajardo’s son – also detained – and the targeting of his church.
The news of Fajardo’s detainment and mistreatment caught the attention of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a Christian human rights group, and issued a petition with over 2,000 signatures demanding for the pastor’s release.
CSW’s head of advocacy Anna Lee Stangl, said that her organization was “disappointed, if not surprised” at the Cuban government’s silence on Fajardo.
“This failure to respond is another example of their total disregard for international norms and laws protecting fundamental human rights and their continued refusal to allow for any transparency in regard to the case, in or outside of Cuba,” Stangl said.
“We continue to call for the pastor’s immediate and unconditional release and urge the international community to maintain intense scrutiny on his case and the wider situation of human rights in Cuba,” she stressed.
Photo courtesy: Matthias Oben/Pexels
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.