By Worthy News Staff
HAVANA, CUBA (Worthy News) -- A pastor's wife who miscarried after a neighbour attacked her was due to facing a Cuban court Monday, August 17, on charges of "disturbing the public order" on that day, an international advocacy group said.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said Gilianys Meneses Rodriguez, daughter-in-law to Reverend Roberto Rodriguez and wife to Pastor Eric Gabriel Rodriguez, was attacked on the street by the wife of a neighbour in December 2008.
"The attack was the latest in a campaign of harassment against the Rodriguez family, carried out with the tacit support of the authorities," CSW said. The group linked the harassment to the families’ involvement in the decision of the Interdenominational Fellowship of Evangelical Pastors and Ministers in Cuba's (CIMPEC) to leave the government backed Cuban Council of Churches (CCC).
CSW said that neighbours first contaminated the families' drinking water well, broke water pipes, and septic tank before accusing Gilianys' husband of "aggressive behaviour". As a result of the violence, "Gilianys miscarried after eight weeks pregnancy," CSW said, adding hat the family has been forced to move away from their home in the central city of Placetas due to concerns for their safety.
Gilianys, a mother of two girls, is the third member of the Rodriguez family to be reportedly summoned to appear before the Placetas Tribunal.
NATIONAL PRESIDENT REMOVED
Her father-in-law was national president of CIMPEC until October 2008 when the Cuban authorities removed him, following the decision of CIMPEC to withdraw from the CCC. CIMPEC reportedly cited "illegal government interference" in their internal affairs as the reason for their withdrawal.
The harassment and legal proceedings against the family began after difficulties between CIMPEC and the CCC, CSW said. "Reverend Roberto Rodriguez has since been summoned to appear in court four times on charges of ‘threatening behaviour'," the group explained.
Gilianys' husband, Pastor Eric Gabriel Rodriguez, was tried on the same charges as his father in December 2008 and has been sentenced to one year probation. There has been an increase in reported violations of religious liberty since Raul Castro took power in early 2008, CSW said.
"We strongly condemn the legal persecution of the Rodriguez family and in particular the latest charges against Gilianys Meneses who has already suffered terrible personal injustice," said CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas. "We call on members of the international community to raise the case with the Cuban government as a matter of urgent concern and ensure the harassment of this family ceases".