Nov. 24, 2015 | Press Releases

Cuba: HRF Asks UN to Inquire Into Suspicious Death of Oswaldo Payá

GENEVA (November 24, 2015) — Yesterday, Human Rights Foundation (HRF) submitted a petition and legal report to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (U.N. Special Rapporteur), requesting that he send an allegation letter to the government of Cuba regarding the inconsistencies of the government’s official investigation into the death of Oswaldo Payá in 2012. HRF documented numerous due process violations, including damning witness accounts, a grossly inadequate autopsy examination, and other key pieces of evidence that were overlooked by the Cuban judicial system.

Cuba: HRF Asks UN to Inquire Into Suspicious Death of Oswaldo Payá

“Oswaldo Payá was the most prominent Cuban pro-democracy activist of the last two decades and he was killed in circumstances that indicate foul play in the Western Hemisphere’s only totalitarian country,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. “We ask the Special Rapporteur to question the Cuban government about evidence that strongly suggests that Payá’s death was the result of a car crash caused by agents of the dictatorship. We ask the Special Rapporteur to help the Payá family in their search for truth and justice,” said Halvorssen.

The legal report HRF submitted to the U.N. Special Rapporteur concludes that “the evidence the Cuban State deliberately ignored strongly suggests that the events of July 22, 2012 were not an accident, as was quickly claimed by authorities in State-owned media and later rubber-stamped in Cuba’s totalitarian court system. Rather, Payá’s death is the result of a car crash directly caused by agents of the State, acting (1) with the intent to kill Oswaldo Payá and his fellow passengers in the vehicle; (2) with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm to them; or (3) with reckless or depraved indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to the life of Oswaldo Payá.”

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

Contact: Noemi Gonzalo-Bilbao, (212) 246-8486, noemi@hrf.org