Cuba: Pastor Granted Asylum but Blocked from Leaving Country
A Cuban pastor who was imprisoned on false charges has been granted asylum by the United States, but refused permission to leave Cuba, ASSIST News Service reports. Omar Gude Perez is the second high-profile protestant pastor to be granted asylum in the US this year. Pastor Perez, who was imprisoned in May 2008, and his wife Kenia and their two children, learned on July 18 they had been granted asylum. However, two days later, Cuban immigration officials in Camaguey informed them they would not be issued exit visas. Authorities justified their decision to the family by saying Perez must serve out the remainder of his prison sentence in Cuba, despite the Cuban government allowing scores of political prisoners to go into exile last year without completing their sentences. As part of the conditions of his conditional freedom, Perez is prohibited from pastoral work, including preaching.