Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is asking people around the world to join their campaign to win the release of Cuban Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, who was arrested by Cuban authorities and has been detained without trial for more than two months following the peaceful protests that emerged across the island nation in mid-July.
Fajardo, 50, accompanied by his 17-year-old son and other members of his church, joined in peaceful demonstrations which sprang up across Cuba on July 11.
As CBN News reported, it was the largest demonstration against Cuba's oppressive communist regime in 60 years. The people of Cuba were demanding change from their government after shortages of food and medicine were made even worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
state security forces responded to the peaceful protests with violence and mass detentions.
Fajardo was incarcerated by State Security officers during peaceful protests in Palma Soriano. In August, he was transferred to the Boniato Maximum Security Prison outside the city of Santiago de Cuba. Fajardo's son was later released.
The pastor faces charges of 'disrespect' and 'public disorder' which carry a prison sentence of between three and 20 years, according to CSW.
During his imprisonment, Fajardo has only been allowed to have a few three-minute phone calls with his family. He has not been allowed to communicate with his wife Maridilegnis Carballo during his detention.
"I went to the place where they say they have my husband detained," she told CSW in July. "No one would let me see him, they haven't even allowed us a phone call. Today it has been fifteen days. God help me, our daughter cries a lot. I have run out of strength; how hard it is to pass through the valley of death. But I will not fear anything, I know that God is with us."
The pastor has met with his attorney only one time during the past two months. Cuban officials denied a request by Fajardo's attorney for "habeus corpus" which would have required that the pastor be physically present in court and the regime to give a legal reason for his detention.
CSW also reported a group of Santiago pastors tried to visit Fajardo but were denied entrance into the prison.
Fajardo's wife has been reportedly told their 17-year-old son will face consequences if she continues to speak out about her husband's plight. She has also been threatened with imprisonment herself for speaking to international human rights organizations about her husband's detention.
Fajardo has worked as a pastor in Cuba for 20 years. Nine years ago, the government confiscated his church property. The couple were eventually able to buy another home and led the Monte de Sion church, where between 80 and 100 people attended weekly before the pastor's arrest and imprisonment.
If you would like to join the campaign to free Pastor Fajardo, click here to add your name to the petition that will be delivered to the Cuban embassy to inform Bárbara Montalvo Álvarez, Cuban ambassador to the United Kingdom about the pastor's case.
"Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo has now spent over two months in prison in horrible conditions simply for participating in peaceful protests. 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," said CSW's Head of Campaigns Dave Mance.