Family of Cuba dissident Oswaldo Paya file lawsuit alleging murder by
The family of Oswaldo Paya, a prominent Cuban dissident who died in a
car crash on the Communist island last year, have filed a lawsuit in
Spain alleging he was murdered by the Castro government.
By Hannah Strange, agencies 10:20AM BST 20 Aug 2013
The wife and daughter of Paya, a recipient of the European Union's top
human rights award, asked a Spanish court to investigate the death,
accusing two top Cuban army officials of involvement in the fatal crash
in July last year.
Paya, one of the foremost leaders of the Cuban opposition, died along
with fellow activist Harold Cepero after the vehicle in which they were
travelling swerved off the road and collided with a tree in Bayamo, in
the province of Granma.
In a highly controversial case, Angel Carromero, a visiting Spanish
politician who was driving the rental car at the time of the crash, was
convicted of vehicular manslaughter by a Cuban court and sentenced to
four years in prison.
But many of Paya's relatives and fellow dissidents have refused to
accept that version of events, alleging instead that Cuban government
agents forced the car off the road.
"(His death) was not an isolated incident, it was the result of a
continuing process that started a long time ago," Paya's brother,
Carlos, told the Spanish news agency Efe.
Carromero, leader of the youth wing of Spain's ruling Popular Party, has
been allowed to serve most of his sentence in Spain and has since
rejected Havana's account of the crash. In an interview with Spain's El
Mundo newspaper, he claimed that 60-year-old Paya was not killed in the
Paya had dual Cuban and Spanish nationality, meaning Spanish authorities
can investigate his death even though it occurred overseas.
Paya's wife, Ofelia Acevedo Maura, and daughter, Rosa Maria Paya
Acevedo, said they had filed the lawsuit at Spain's High Court. Paya's
Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) said in a statement that the suit
accused Lieutenant Colonel Aguilas and Colonel Llanes, two top officials
at a department which investigates crimes against the security of the
Cuban state, of involvement in the dissident's death. The statement did
not elaborate on what roles they were alleged to have played in the crash.
The MCL said it trusted in the Spanish courts to grant the justice that
had been denied in Cuba.
"The Cuban and the Spanish people have the legitimate and legal right to
know the truth of what happened that day, which left dead a Spanish
citizen, Oswaldo Paya, and a young man, also a Spanish citizen, Angel
Carromero, vilely blamed for a crime that he did not commit," the
Long a thorn in the side of the Castro government, Paya was best known
internationally as the founder of the Varela Project, which collected
25,000 signatures in support of a referendum on laws to protect civil
In 2002 he won the Sakharov Prize, an award bestowed by the European
Union for work in the field of human rights. Paya was also twice
nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Once Spanish judicial authorities receive a lawsuit, they must discuss
with the public prosecutor's office whether to open initial proceedings.
The decision in this case would not be expected before September.
If the court decides to proceed, it would automatically trigger an
investigation into Paya's death by a Spanish judge.
Source: "Family of Cuba dissident Oswaldo Paya file lawsuit alleging
murder by Castro regime - Telegraph" -