The widow of leading Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya has rejected a government report that blamed the car crash that killed her husband on the driver, saying she had been denied access to information.
Ofelia Acevedo criticized officials for not allowing her to talk to the survivors, Spanish driver Angel Carromero and Swedish political activist Jens Aron Modig, who have been kept in custody since the July 22 incident.
"I reject this report because it is the official report of the government of Cuba and because I have not had access to this information that they say they have," she told AFP. "I have no reason at all to believe this version of events."
The government insists Paya, 60, a leading opponent of the one-party rule of the Cuban Communist Party, was killed when Carromero lost control and the rental car struck a tree.
In a lengthy report Friday, the interior ministry said the Spanish political activist lost control of the vehicle when he abruptly hit the brakes on the slippery surface of an unpaved section of road while speeding.
Paya's family, however, has said it has information that the rental car was forced off the road by another vehicle.
Acevedo said she had not yet been able to talk to Carromero or Modig, both of whom have been kept in custody since they were discharged from hospital after being treated for injuries sustained during the crash.
"They were the last people who saw my husband alive and they have to know a lot more than I do so far," she told AFP.
Acevedo said she did not believe the government's account of what Carromero said about the accident.
"He has not had access to the communications media, outside the presence of state security, which has had him sequestered since he came out of the hospital," she told AFP.
Paya's widow said she had asked the ambassadors of Spain and Sweden to arrange for her to speak to Carromero and Modig, but "not even they have been able to speak with them without the presence of state security."
Carromero, who is being held by police in a southeastern town close to where the crash occurred, faces charges of traffic violations resulting in death, which can carry up to 10 years in prison under Cuba's penal code.
In Madrid, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo confirmed that Carromero was still being held in Cuba and said he could possibly be charged on Monday or Tuesday once the investigation was over.
"If he were to be charged, we would like him to be staying in our embassy," the minister said, adding that the most important thing was to bring the 27-year-old Spanish national home.
Also killed in the crash with Paya was a fellow Cuban dissident, 31-year-old Harold Cepero Escalante.
Paya, a fervent Catholic, is best known for presenting the Cuban parliament in 2002 with a petition signed by 11,000 people demanding political change in Cuba.
Known as the "Varela Project," the initiative was instrumental in opening debate in Cuba on the direction of a communist regime dominated for more than half a century by Fidel Castro and his brother Raul.
Paya was the 2002 recipient of the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov prize, which is awarded for defending human rights and freedom of thought.
His death was keenly felt among Cuba's dissident community, and authorities have been quick to respond to any sign of protests.
About 50 people were arrested on Tuesday after they emerged from Paya's funeral in Havana shouting anti-government slogans. Most were later released without charge, activists said.
In an impassioned statement delivered at his funeral, Paya's 23-year-old daughter Rosa Maria said her skepticism of the government version was based on "repeated threats against the life of my father and our family."
The United States on Wednesday urged communist Cuba to launch a thorough, transparent probe into the circumstances of the accident and condemned the arrest of the dissidents at Paya's funeral.
Swedish foreign ministry spokesman Anders Jorle said there was no reason that 27-year-old Modig, who is being held in an immigration detention center in Havana, should not be allowed to go home.
Both Modig and Carromero were in Cuba on tourist visas.