Cuba: Ofelia Acevedo to her husband's death - "I was afraid that something like this happens"

Wife of the dead Cuban opposition leader Oswaldo Paya Sardinas expresses suspicion of murder



Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, Cuban opposition leader and winner of the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament, died on July 22, 2012.

Havana/Frankfurt am Main (24. Juli 2012) - The Cuban opposition leader Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, winner of the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament died last Sunday at the age of 60 years under mysterious circumstances in a car accident. While Cuban authorities state, the driver of the car had lost control of the vehicle, Ofelia Acevedo, the wife of the deceased, fears that her husband's death was planned by the Cuban regime.

According to eyewitness' report a second vehicle was involved in the accident, which has tried to push Paya's car off the road. The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) calls therefore for an independent investigation of the accident details. "If the Castro-government will not be held responsible for the death of Oswaldo Paya, then it should permit an independent international expert enlightenment", said IGFM-spokesman Martin Lessenthin.

Face to face with ISHR representatives Oswaldo Paya expressed quite recently, on 7th of July 2012, that he felt threatened and couldn't exclude an attempt on his life. About three weeks ago, his car was rammed sideways from another vehicle on the road. "During the past years many times they threatened us, that they would kill Oswaldo and his family. We have known that it can happen at any moment. (...) I was afraid of this happening, and so was he," Paya's wife Ofelia says.

Police responded calls for the dead

Ofelia Acevedo also notes that, all the other occupants of the car accident were admitted to a hospital expect of her husband. When she learned of the accident, she had called her husband on his mobile phone immediately and was very surprised that not Oswaldo, but the police answered. "They told me that the phone had rung and was taken of the pocket of the dead", Ofelia Acevedo continued.

Demand for independent clarification of the case

The assistant chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary party Arnold Vaatz MP, Member of the German Bundestag, asks together with the International Society for Human Rights for an independent investigation of the accident. "On Cuba, there can be no talking about an independent police or an independent judiciary. Due to the exposed political position of Oswaldo Paya, his critical attitude towards the Cuban one-party-dictatorship and the ongoing attempts to browbeat him, he has had to face for more than ten years, an impartiality of Cuban authorities towards him can be declared impossible. Only an independent international investigator can clarify the circumstances of Oswaldo Paya's death," says Vaatz.