Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas (born February 29, 1952 in Havana, Cuba) is a political activist in Cuba and is considered that country's most prominent political dissident. He received the Sakharov Prize in 2002. In 2005, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by former Czech President Václav Havel, with fellow Cuban dissidents Raul Rivero and Óscar Elías Biscet.
Oswaldo Payá was brought up in a Catholic family and would have been six or seven years old when in 1959 the Cuban government began to suppress the activities of the Catholic Church. In his youth he chose not to join the Communist Party or its youth organizations, but at the age of 16 was drafted into the Cuban Army. During his service he was punished for refusing to participate in transporting a group of prisoners and was sentenced to penal labour on the Isle of Pines (today known as the Isle of Youth) for three years. A devout Christian, he has ascribed the incident which led to his punishment to a refusal to compromise his religious beliefs. Subsequently trained as an engineer, today he works making anaesthetic equipment. He is married with three children.
From : www.wikipedia.org