College Student Interrogated, Threatened and Charged With Public Disorder by Cuban Government Over His Work to Expose Christian Persecution There

Felix Yuniel Llerena López, far left, is shown with USCIRF commissioner Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, center, and others during his April trip to Capitol Hill to advocate for religious liberty in his native Cuba.
Photo from Twitter

Religious liberty leaders are interceding on behalf of a college student interrogated, threatened and charged with public disorder by the Cuban government because of his work to expose Christian persecution there.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, a commissioner with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), are advocating for the student, 20-year-old Felix Yuniel Llerena López, who was arrested April 27 upon his return from a trip to Washington.

Cuban state security authorities made him sign an “Acta de Advertencia” or pre-arrest warrant for public disorder, ordered him to appear in court and also interrogated his mother, CSW said in a May 2 press release.

“We are extremely concerned about the government’s treatment of Felix Yuniel Llerena López upon his return to Cuba,” CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in the press release. “Public accusations linking him to terrorism are not only preposterous and unfounded, but also put his family in danger. We call on the Cuban government to cease its harassment of Felix and to turn its attention to addressing its ongoing violations of freedom of religion or belief as a matter of urgency. We also urge the international community to closely monitor this situation.”

Llerena, central region coordinator for the independent Patmos Institute for religious freedom, was part of a Patmos delegation including evangelical pastors who briefed USCIRF, the State Department and non-governmental groups on religious freedom violations in Cuba, CSW reported. Llerena is described as the only Christian in his family.

Arriaga, who met Llerena during his trip to Capitol Hill, has initiated a Twitter campaign on the student’s behalf — @FelixLlerenaCUB. While Llerena’s current whereabouts were not disclosed, Arriaga said on a May 2 WORLD Radio broadcast that he remained in custody.

“He came to the United States briefly with a group of evangelical pastors,” Arriaga told WORLD Radio, “and after he met with the commission members — precisely because he met with the commission members — he flew back to Havana with great courage to again continue to spread the Word of Gospel.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Diana Chandler