Activists to protest against imprisonment of Cuban pastor over homeschooled kids

Homeschool activists are set to gather at the Cuban Embassy on May 17 to protest the imprisonment of a pastor and his wife in Cuba who were placed under house arrest for homeschooling their two kids.

(REUTERS / Andrew Harnik / Pool)The Cuban national flag is seen raised over their new embassy in Washington, July 20, 2015.

On Feb. 21, Cuban pastor Ramon Rigal and his wife Adya were arrested for homeschooling their children, Home School Legal Defense Association director of global outreach Mike Donnelly said in an entry on their website. The Municipal Office of Education in Guantanamo sent the pastor a letter explaining that homeschooling is not officially recognized as an educational institution and that those who cause a minor to "be absent from school, refuse educational work that is inherent to the national system of education" could face sanctions under the country's penal code, Breitbart relays.

According to Donnelly, this stance is a violation of the international human rights laws. He told Breitbart that a government should not deny parents their right to choose the way their children are educated and that their options must include homeschooling.

Last month, a Cuban court decided to send Pastor Rigal to prison for a year while his wife was ordered to continue being under house arrest for the same length of time. This prompted homeschool activists to organize a rally in front of the Cuban Embassy at noon on May 17 to protest the decision, The Christian Post reports.

"Americans care about what happens to people in Cuba," said Donnelly. "If Cuba is going to have normal relations with the United States, then the Cuban government should know that homeschooling is an option that must be allowed."

The Rigals had reportedly decided to homeschool their children after they found out that the kids were being bullied at school. Moreover, the children were being taught ideas that went against their family's beliefs.

HSLDA and CitizenGo have since launched an online petition saying Pastor Rigal wants to remain in Cuba so that he could continue leading his his church. However, the petition also mentions that the Rigals want to seek refuge in another nation that would respect their right to choose the kind of education they want for their children.