Human Rights Foundation suggests “Direct Responsibility of the Cuban
Regime” in the death of Paya / 14ymedio
Posted on July 23, 2015
14ymedio, Havana, 22 July 2015 – The human rights defense organization
Human Rights Foundation (HRF) thinks that the Cuban government has
“direct responsibility” in the deaths of dissidents Oswaldo Payá and
Harold Cepero, according to the conclusion of an 88-page report
presented this Wednesday at the University of Georgetown (Washington),
on the third anniversary of the death of the opponents.
“The accident (…) is the result of an automobile incident deliberately
caused by agents of the State,” assert the authors of the report,
lawyers Javier El-Hage and Roberto C. Gonzalez, both of HRF. According
to the lawyers, there was “intention to assassinate Oswaldo Payá and the
passengers who were travelling with him.” The authors of the report also
think there was the intention of “causing them serious bodily injury” or
that the event “was carried out with negligence and/or extreme
indifference – and an unjustified high risk – for the life of the activist.”
The foundation highlights the “errors” and the “contradictions” of the
official investigation into the events of 22 July 2012, documenting
numerous violations, such as a faulty autopsy of the “most prominent
pro-democracy activist in Latin America in the last 25 years,” according
to the president of the HRF, Thor Halvorssen.
The report maintains that the evidence, deliberately overlooked by the
official investigation, suggests that it was not a traffic accident and
implicates the government in the crash between the vehicles.
The organization believes that the Spaniard Angel Carromero, who was
driving the car in which Payá was travelling and who is now on probation
in his country, was ”obliged” to confess himself to be responsible, and
that Cuban Justice paid no attention to the complaints of the
dissident’s relatives, excluding them from the trials. Carromero
himself, who was then a leader of the youth branch of Spain’s Popular
Party (PP), has asserted on several occasions that the accident was an
“attack” orchestrated by the Island’s regime. Those responsible for the
report insist that Carromero had no access to a lawyer for weeks and
that, later, he was forced to be represented by lawyers with close ties
to the Government.
“The State of Cuba is responsible internationally for having violated
Angel Carromero’s right to an effective legal defense,” says the report,
since the authorities refused his defense access to the case file and
the opportunity to present new evidence.
“Cuba is not a democratic State in which individual rights are respected
or in which there exists independence among the powers of the State,”
warns the report, which labels trials that involve dissidents as “a mere
formality” in which “all the actors (prosecutor, judge and defense
attorney) direct their work towards legitimizing the Government’s
decision and not towards the search for the historical truth of events
and the punishment of the responsible parties.” The investigation and
the later trial in the death of Payá and Cepero were not exceptions,
having been carried out in a “context of complete authoritarianism.”
Cuban authorities also did not permit the family of the deceased to
speak with the two survivors of the crash (Angel Carromero and the Swede
Jens Aron Modig), and three years after the event, they have still not
communicated the result of the autopsy. The dissident’s relatives
received the clothes that he was wearing the day of the incident already
washed which kept them from opting for an independent examination.
“Havana’s authorities believed that it was necessary to destroy my
father,” said the daughter of the opponent, Rosa Maria Payá, present at
the University of Georgetown. “This report will be an important tool
against the impunity of those authorities,” she added. According to the
activist, the document “is the end of the first part” of her efforts,
and the process to clarify what happened to her father “is only
beginning” with “the analysis of the evidence” in the hands of the family.
“We plan to use this report as a tool in front of all the international
bodies,” said Payá, who calls on Cuban authorities to release her
father’s and Cepero’s autopsy reports.
The authors of the report accuse Havana of having violated the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights as well as the American Declaration of the
Rights and Duties of Man.
Translated by MLK
Source: Human Rights Foundation suggests “Direct Responsibility of the
Cuban Regime” in the death of Paya / 14ymedio | Translating Cuba –