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Daughter to seek probe into Cuban dissident's death

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The daughter of the late Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya said Tuesday she will ask the Inter-American Human Rights Commission to investigate her father's death in a car crash in Cuba last year.

Rosa Maria Paya said she decided to seek the investigation after the vehicle's driver told the Washington Post last month that they were hit from behind by a vehicle that appeared to have government license plates.

Paya, who said her family has received death threats, told an audience at the National Endowment for Democracy that she also was requesting the investigation "to draw attention to the repression of people in Cuba."

Her father and a fellow Cuban dissident, Harold Cepero, were killed July 22, 2012, in southeastern Cuba when their rental car went off a country road and crashed into a tree.

The vehicle's driver, Spanish conservative youth leader Angel Carromero, and another passenger, Swedish activist Jens Aron Modig, survived the crash.

A government investigation concluded that Carromero was driving too fast, hit an unpaved section of road and lost control of the vehicle. Paya's family said they suspected foul play, and had heard the car was hit from behind.

But in a videotaped statement released by the government, Carromero, 27, said they had not been hit from behind, while Modic said at a news conference in Cuba that he did not remember another vehicle being involved in the crash.

Then, after being allowed to leave Cuba, where he was serving a four year prison sentence for causing the crash, Carromero told the Post the crash occurred as they were being chased by a vehicle with blue plates similar to those used by official vehicles.

"The last time I looked in the mirror, I realized that the car had gotten too close -- and suddenly I felt a thunderous impact from behind," Carromero said.

Paya was one of the Cuban government's most prominent critics, and his death caused an international storm.

Several US legislators are supporting the Paya family request for an international investigation, which will be formally presented to the commission on Wednesday.

Paya, who was allowed to leave Cuba under a liberalized visa policy, also did not rule out initiating legal action in Spain.

She said her family has received threatening calls, a member of Paya's Christian Liberation Movement was beaten in the city of Holguin, and members of the dissident group have been subjected to other acts of harassment.

jm/dw

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130409/daughter-seek-probe-cuban-dissidents-death