Press advisory: CFC responds to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights report finding Cuban government responsible for murders of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero

Press advisory

CFC responds to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights report finding Cuban government responsible for murders of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero

Contacts: John Suarez (612) -367-6845/ Janisset Rivero 786-208-6056

Washington, D.C., June 13, 2023. Center for a Free Cuba. Report number 83 of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) demonstrates the responsibility of the Cuban state and the role government agents played in the extrajudicial killings of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero, which sets an important precedent for the Payá and Cepero families in their search for justice.

“The IACHR identified sufficient serious evidence to conclude that State agents had been involved in the deaths of Payá and Cepero. In particular, the Commission took into consideration Carromero’s testimony—confirmed by an eyewitness—noting that the vehicle had been hit by an official car. The State did not submit allegations or otherwise refute these arguments. The IACHR therefore established that the State of Cuba had violated the rights to life, honor, and freedom of expression of the two men,” states the document published on June 12, 2023.

Both the statements by the Spanish citizen Angel Carromero, a witness who was driving the car struck during the incident, and those of the Payá family were fundamental to this report, since the Cuban government refused to provide any of the information requested by the IACHR. in the admissibility process of the case.

“This is a step forward in the search for justice and the clarification of the facts. We must continue searching for the truth about the death of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero. Who were the government agents in the vehicle that hit the car Oswaldo and Harold were traveling in? Who ordered them to be there?” asked John Suárez, Executive Director of the Center for a Free Cuba (CFC).

This is an important report in which an international human rights body recognizes that Cuban government agents were responsible for the deaths of Payá and Cepero, Nevertheless, the work done by Javier El-Hage and Roberto González of the Human Rights Foundation in their extensive 147-page report titled The Case of Oswaldo Payá published on July 22, 2015 that concluded that Harold and Oswaldo’s deaths were “the result of a car crash directly caused by agents of the State” remains an important reference.

Questions remain, that can be answered and the Christian Liberation Movement is calling for the governments of the United States, Spain and Sweden to declassify the documentation they have on the events surrounding the extrajudicial killings of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero, and the Center for a Free Cuba joins them in making this request,” stated John Suarez, CFC’s executive director, who added a regime that murders human rights defenders has no place on the UN Human Rights Council. Why is Cuba still on the UN Human Rights Council?

The link to the full IACHR report can be found here (https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/decisions/2023/ADM_14-196_EN.pdf).

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