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European lawmakers call for international probe of Cuban dissidents' deaths


Strasbourg, France, Nov 21 (EFE).- The European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee called Thursday for an international investigation within the framework of the United Nations into the 2012 deaths of Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero.

The request for an investigation was included in an amendment resulting from the compromise between the European Popular Party, or PPE, and reformers and conservatives included within the 2012 human rights report that was approved by the majority of Eurolawmakers.

"The amendment asks the External Action Service (EEAS) of the EU to promote ... an independent investigation, within the framework of the United Nations," Eurodeputy Jose Ignacio Salafranca told Efe.

The request by the EU commission coincides with the presence this week in parliament of Paya's daughter, Rosa Maria.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the EU's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience and former awardwinners and representatives of those who are unable to be present, traveled to Strasbourg, France, to be present at the 2013 presentation ceremony - the award this year going to 16-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

Oswaldo Paya received the Sakharov award in 2002.

Paya's daughter, in an interview with Efe on Wednesday, had already demanded that European institutions investigate her father's death, which she called an "attack."

The Cuban government version, which Paya's daughter rejects, said that the two dissidents died when the automobile in which they were riding crashed into a tree while being driven by Spanish Popular Party New Generations leader Angel Carromero.

Paya's family last summer filed a complaint before the Audiencia Nacional, Spain's high court, claiming that the deadly crash was deliberately caused by Cuban security personnel.