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Cuba Detains Teenage Stepdaughter Of Christian Pastor
HAVANA, CUBA — Cuban authorities detained the 13-year-old stepdaughter of Delmides Fidalgo Lopez, a Christian pastor and president of the evangelical group Christian Movement of Cuba, dissidents and Cuban exiles said Thursday, February 8.
Leyani Dominguez Velasquez was detained Monday, February 5, for the second time in less than one week by “political police” in the town of Buenaventura in Holguin province, said the Cuban Democratic Directorate (CDD), a pro-democracy group.
“The arrests are part of a repressive campaign against her stepfather” because of his activities as pastor and the Christian Movement of Cuba, CDD added in a statement to BosNewsLife.
Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, a blind lawyer and president of the Cuban Human Rights Foundation, said in a statement that “a State Security official and another agent who is in charge of minors in Buenaventura locked her up in the administration office” of the Buenaventura Secondary School, which she attends.
During the “one-hour interrogation” officials allegedly tried to force the girl to accuses her stepfather of molesting her. They “threatened to transport her to Havana to put her through a lie detector test if she did not acquiesce,” Gonzalez Leiva explained.
The officials reportedly demanded information about Fidalgo Lopez’ pro-democratic and independent Christian activities. In remarks obtained by BosNewsLife, independent journalist Tania Maceda Guerra said the girl was earlier detained on February 2 by a captain of what is known as the National Revolutionary Police, on her way home from school.
“The captain threatened her and used methods of psychological terror and coercion to force her to speak,” about her stepfather, the journalist said. “He told her that she would be arrested if she did not inform him about the trip her stepfather wants to make to Havana and his ‘counter-revolutionary’ activities”. In addition officials allegedly threatened to take the girl “to a juvenile prison, and they said her step-father would be jailed in a maximum security prison.”
An hour later, Leyani was set free and “began to shout desperately,” CDD said, quoting its contacts. Pastor Delmides Fidalgo Lopez founded the Christian Movement of Cuba in December 2005.
The group of pastors and other Christians is dedicated to preaching the Gospel of Christ independently from the State.
It also collaborates with the Cuban Human Rights Foundation and denounces alleged human rights violations in Cuba, including ongoing detentions of at least scores of pro-democracy activists, including Christians.
The frail Cuban leader Fidel Castro has denied human rights abuses and the existence of “dissidents.” He has described pro-democracy activists as “mercenaries of the United States.”
The Cuban government has sought to reassure Cubans about Castro’s health after intestinal surgery forced him to temporarily cede power for the first time in 47 years, saying his health is stable and the defense of the Communist-run island guaranteed.