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08:46, 01 August 2014 Friday
Update: 11:14, 23 July 2012 Monday

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Famed Cuban dissident dead in car crash
Famed Cuban dissident dead in car crash
(Reuters)

Paya, 60, was traveling in eastern Granma province at the time of the accident, the details of which are not known, the sources said.

World Bulletin / News Desk 

One of Cuba's best-known dissidents, Oswaldo Paya, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, died on Sunday in a car crash, government and opposition sources said.

Paya, 60, was traveling in eastern Granma province at the time of the accident, the details of which are not known, the sources said.

According to dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, who broke the news on Twitter, Paya's death was confirmed by the bishop of Granma, Carlos Amador.

Paya's family was not immediately available for comment.

Another dissident died in the crash, and a Spaniard and Swede were injured, after the car left the road and hit a tree, government officials told Reuters.

In 2002, Paya spearheaded a petition campaign calling for a referendum on one-party rule and submitted more than 30,000 signatures.

The petition drive was rejected by the government, but Paya emerged as the leading advocate of peaceful democratic change in Communist-run Cuba.

Paya received the European Union's top human rights award in 2002, the Sakharov Prize, named after the late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.

He was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize by former Czech President Vaclav Havel.

A devout Catholic who was sent to a labor camp in the 1960s for his religious beliefs, Paya overcame intimidation and harassment to build Cuba's first nationwide opposition initiative.

"This is tragic for the family and the human rights and pro-democracy movement in Cuba," said Elizardo Sanchez, head of the illegal but tolerated C u ban Commission for Human Rights.

"Paya was considered the most notable political leader of the Cuban opposition," he said.

 

 



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