23 Jul 2012

Cuban dissident dies in crash

11:42 pm on 23 July 2012

One of Cuba's most prominent dissidents, Oswaldo Paya, has died in a car crash.

The human rights campaigner, 60, supported democratic reform on the communist island and was labelled an enemy of the revolution.

He was the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement.

The BBC says activists reported Mr Paya was travelling near the city of Bayamo, in the eastern province of Granma, when the accident happened.

He is known as the founder of the Varela Project - a campaign to gather signatures in support of a referendum on laws guaranteeing civil rights.

He was seen as a key spokesperson for Cuba's small opposition, says the BBC.

The circumstances of the accident are still unclear.

The BBC's correspondent in Cuba says a usually well-informed pro-government blogger says Mr Paya's car crashed into a tree.

A state media website says there was a "regrettable traffic accident" that killed two Cubans, while two other people, one Swede and one Spaniard, were injured.

Mr Paya was awarded the Sakharov human rights prize by the European Parliament in 2002.