Some pastors have been arrested and detained by Cuban authorities after massive protests engulfed the communist country.
So far, four pastors are being held since July 11 while another one has been released.
A series of protests against the Cuban government and the ruling Communist Party of Cuba broke on July 12 over shortage of food and medicine and the response of the government to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The protests are some of the largest against the government in the recent years.
Christian Today reports that Pastor Yarian Sierra and Yeremi Blanco Ramirez are currently detained in a wing of the Matanzas women prison.
Rev. Castor Jose Alvarez Devesa, a Catholic priest, was detained and released the following day while Rev. Yusniel Perez Montejo of the Eastern Baptist Convention of Cuba, was detained in the province of Santiago but his whereabouts are still not known.
Sierra and Ramirez teach at William Carey Biblical Seminary in Matanzas though they belong to the Berean Baptist denomination.
The wives of the two pastors have been allowed to see them only once since July 11.
Sierra’s wife, Claudia Salazar, said her husband is going through “inhuman” treatment in the hands of the authorities.
According to her,
Sierra suffers from asthma.
“I want to denounce that they treated us as if we were dogs who have no right to anything,” Claudia, who is being supported by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CWS), said.
“In Cuba they do punish citizens for thinking differently and even more so for expressing their opinions. This is exemplified by my husband Yarian Sierra and Yeremi Blanco.
“They are being treated today as political prisoners for expressing their opinion. For how long will we have to suffer these abuses? For how long do we have to ensure these attacks and so much oppression?”
Demand for Release
CSW has called for the release of the clergymen and for the Cuban government to listen to the demands of the protesters.
“We welcome news of the release of Father Castor, though we note that he never should have been detained as none of these men have committed any crime.
“We call on the Cuban authorities to hold those responsible for the assault on Father Castor to account, and to release all others who were detained in relation to the exercise of their fundamental rights immediately and without conditions.
“CSW condemns the Cuban government’s explicit call to violence in the streets and urges President Díaz Canel and other leaders of the Cuba Communist Party to take seriously and respond humanely and responsibly to the calls of the demonstrators,” CSW’s Head of Advocacy Anna-Lee Stangl, said.