The Christian Liberation Movement, led by Oswaldo Paya, on Tuesday denounced the detention of one of its members, Agustin Cervantes, who is facing a summary trial without the ability to testify in his own defense.
Cervantes' trial is the first to take place since the government attempted suppress opposition by detaining political dissidents in the spring of 2003, according to Europa Press.
In an audio message posted on the movement’s website, Paya said Cervantes was detained Monday in the province of Santiago. He was coordinator there for the Varela Project, which calls for a referendum on civil freedoms in Cuba.
Paya also denounced the harassment he has been subject to at his home, which is surrounded by state security agents who carry out surveillance on “everyone who comes and goes” and who disconnected his phone service right before Cervantes was detained. Service is periodically restored, he said, but “mafia style messages” are often heard when picking up the receiver to make a call.
Paya went on to lament the increase in repression against the members of the Varela Project, who he said are “only employing their constitutional right to present legal initiatives.” The civil rights leader also reiterated that the effort would continue until all Cuban citizens are granted their full rights.