Late Cuban dissident's kin mull legal action in Spain

Miami, Jun 18 (EFE).- The widow and daughter of deceased Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya said here Tuesday that they may ask Spain's National Court to investigate the activist's death in a car crash.

"We're studying the possibility of presenting a lawsuit (over Paya's death) before the Spanish National Court because my father was also a Spanish citizen," Rosa Maria Paya said during a press conference in Miami.

She said Spanish authorities had guaranteed her that they would not interfere with her efforts to get an international investigation launched to clarify the circumstances surrounding the Cuban opposition leader's death on July 22, 2012.

Angel Carromero, a leader of the youth wing of Spain's governing Popular Party, was at the wheel of the rental car that crashed with Paya, fellow dissident Harold Cepero and Swedish political activist Jens Aron Modig aboard.

Paya and Cepero were killed in the accident, which Cuban authorities said was due to Carromero's speeding.

The 27-year-old Spaniard was eventually convicted of negligent homicide and sentenced to four years in prison, but he returned to Madrid last December under a 1998 bilateral accord that allows convicts to serve their sentences in their homelands.

Within weeks of his return to Spain, Carromero was granted an open detention regime and he spends all but four nights a week at liberty.

Rosa Paya said during a visit to Spain in February that Carromero told her the rental car was struck from behind by another vehicle and forced off the road.

She has called for an independent international commission to investigate the circumstances of her father's death.

Carromero "is completely ready to provide his testimony" in the matter, Rosa Maria Paya said at Tuesday's press conference, where she and her mother, Ofelia Acevedo, stressed that they are not seeking political asylum in the United States.

Rosa, Acevedo and three other family members arrived in Miami earlier this month and said they plan to travel back and forth between Cuba and the United States.

However, Paya's widow confessed that they needed "to rest from the persecution" and temporarily get away from the climate of fear and threats they have been subjected to for 25 years in Cuba.

Oswaldo Paya, who died at 60, emerged as a leading opposition figure in 2002 when he delivered to Cuba's parliament more than 10,000 signed petitions calling for a referendum on democratization.

He also founded an organization, the Christian Liberation Movement, or MCL.

Acevedo denounced as a sign of a resurgence in the repression of the opposition within Cuba the attack suffered recently by MCL activist Gualberto Leyva Batista, who was set upon with machetes "for spreading the message."