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Catholic Church says Cuba to free political prisoners

Posted in Américas by Vinícius Oliveira on 07/07/2010

BBC News – 07/07/2010

Cuba’s communist authorities are to free at least 52 political prisoners, Catholic Church officials in Havana said.

The government has been under pressure to free dissidents since the death of a prisoner on hunger strike in February.

It denies the inmates are political prisoners, describing them as common criminals or “mercenaries” working for the United States.

The Church has increasingly become an important mediator.

Agreement to release the prisoners came after talks between Cuban leader Raul Castro and Church leader Cardinal Jaime Ortega.

Visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez were also present

Cardinal Ortega said five detainees would be freed later on Wednesday and the remaining 47 within the next few months.

This amounts to the biggest mass liberation of Cuban prisoners in decades.


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