Tuesday, March 12, 2013

World leaders and human rights defenders call for inquiry into deaths of Oswaldo and Harold

Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante

Appeal for International Inquiry into the Deaths of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero

An open letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and Ambassadors of all Member States

12 March 2013


We urge you to support our demand for an international and independent investigation into the alleged murder of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, a world-renowned figure and recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize, who died in a car crash in Bayamo, Cuba, on July 22, 2012, together with fellow activist Harold Cepero.

In dramatic new testimony by the driver of the car, Ángel Carromero describes, in a Washington Post interview dated 6 March 2013, how their vehicle was followed, harassed and ultimately rammed from behind by a car bearing government license plates. Mr. Carromero further alleges that, following the crash, he was drugged, mistreated and coerced by Cuban authorities into making a false confession.

The new revelations corroborate the claims made by the families of the victims and other witnesses, as well as the report by Spain’s ABC news agency about text messages sent contemporaneous with the incident from the mobile phones of Mr. Carromero and another passenger, Aron Modig, indicating that their car was chased and then hit, causing the crash.

Significantly, according to the family of Oswaldo Payá, state security agents had repeatedly threatened to kill him.

Mounting and credible allegations that the Cuban government may have been complicit in the murder of its most prominent critic, a leading figure in the human rights world, cannot go ignored by the international community.

The families of the victims, and the people of Cuba, have a right to know the truth, and they have a right to justice. This can only happen with the creation of an international and independent inquiry. We therefore respectfully urge you to support our call.

  1. Armando Calderon Sol, former President of El Salvador
  2. Luis Alberto Lacalle, former President of Uruguay
  3. Alejandro Toledo, former President of Peru
  4. Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of European Parliament
  5. Markus Meckel, , former Foreign Minister of Germany
  6. Zbigniew Romaszewski, former Speaker of Polish Senate, a founder of the Solidarity movement
  7. Stanislav Shushkevich, former president of Supreme Soviet of Belarus, a current opposition leader in Belarus
  8. Arnold Vaatz MP, Deputy Leader CDU, Germany
  9. Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, former Foreign Minister of Iceland
  10. Mantas Adomênas MP, Lithuania
  11. Laura Alonso MP, Argentina
  12. Mbarka Bouaida, former MP, Morocco
  13. Philip Claeys MEP
  14. Michael Danby MP, Australia
  15. Mátyás Eörsi, Secretary-General of Parliamentary Forum for Democracy, former MP, Hungary
  16. David Kilgour, former MP, Canada
  17. Adam Lipinski MP, former State Secretary of Poland
  18. Martin Palouš, former Ambassador, Czech Republic
  19. Marija Aušrinė Pavilioniene MP, Lithuania
  20. Marco Perduca, Italian Senator, co-vicepresident of Nonviolent Radical Party
  21. Janelle Saffin MP, Australia
  22. Egidijus Vareikis MP, Lithuania
  23. Renate Wohlwend MP, Lichtenstein
  24. Emanuelis Zingeris MP, Lithuania, President of Parliamentary Forum for Democracy
  25. Hillel Neuer, Executive Director, United Nations Watch
  26. John Suarez, International Secretary, Cuban Democratic Directorate
  27. Carl Gershman, President, the National Endowment for Democracy
  28. Ken Wollack, President, National Democratic Institute
  29. Zohra Yusuf, Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
  30. Yang Jianli, President, Initiatives for China
  31. Carlos E. Ponce, General Coordinator, Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy
  32. Faisal Fulad, Secretary General, Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society
  33. Art Kaufman, Senior Director, World Movement for Democracy, National Endowment for Democracy
  34. Alessandro Pettenuzzo, European Union of Public Relations
  35. Lehlohonolo Chefa,  Executive Director, Policy Analysis and Research Institute of Lesotho
  36. Anki Flores, Former Secretary-General of the Antiracism Information Service, Geneva
  37. Shauna Leven, Director, René Cassin organization
  38. Bhawani Shanker Kusum, Executive Director, Gram Bharati Samiti, India
  39. Duy Hoang, Spokesperson, Viet Tan
  40. Dickson Ntwiga, Executive Director, Solidarity House International Foundation
  41. Nazanin Afshin-Jam, President, Stop Child Executions
  42. Atamao B T Kane, President, Southpanafrican International
  43. Okay Machisa, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
  44. Obinna Egbuka, President, Youth Enhancement Organization
  45. International Multiracial Shared Cultural Organization
  46. Zofia Romaszewska, one of the founders of Solidarity movement, Poland

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