On Friday, March 5, the youth organizer of the Association of Free Yorubas of Cuba, Dairon Hernández Pérez, was detained, beaten, and robbed by Cuban State Security and Rapid Response Brigades outside his home. He was returning from a religious event. GLA is investigating the matter. More details, including photos and video, are included at the end of this post.
In a video statement, Mr. Hernández and his mother Free Yorubas Executive Secretary Donaida Pérez Paseiro assert that he was beaten on the head, stomach, back, and legs, his religious articles were broken, and money he carried on his person was taken. State Security also threatened to run him over with a car, and to jail him for "precriminal dangerousness." In other words, repression.
The brutal attack occurred less than 2 weeks after the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) published an important Fact Sheet outlining how the Free Yorubas were victims of religious persecution. The Global Liberty Alliance has been providing information to USCIRF about this matter, and others and has urged the U.S. government to impose economic sanctions on Cuba's Religion Police, a Stasi-like entity that is part of the Communist Party and called the Office of Religious Affairs.
Mr. Hernández was held in the police station for several hours on Friday. When his family tried to advocate for him the next day, he was threatened with prison, and his mother and father (the Free Yorubas Executive Secretary and Vice President) were fined and summoned to the police station. The alleged reason for this attack? He refused military service because of his religious and political beliefs, and had success recruiting other young people to the Free Yorubas.
Below are photos (screenshots) of Mr. Hernández's injuries, as well as the video statement by the victim and his mother, Ms. Pérez. English speakers can activate the English subtitles on the video.