Cuba to release four more dissidents to Spain: church

17th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Four Cuban political prisoners will be shortly and sent to Spain, bringing to 36 the number of dissidents freed among the 52 Havana promised to release by November, the Roman Catholic church said Friday.

Dissidents Nelson Molinet, Hector Valle Miguel Galvan and Jose Miguel Martinez "will be released soon" as part of the "continuing process" of prisoner releases following landmark talks between the communist government and church officials backed by Madrid, said a note from the archbishop of Havana.

The prisoners, aged between 42 and 46, were to be taken directly from their Havana jail to the airport, where they will meet relatives who will emigrate with them, opposition leader Oscar Espinosa Chepe told AFP.

Cuba agreed on July 7 to release the remaining 52 of 75 dissidents who were arrested in a March 2003 crackdown who are still behind bars, under terms of a landmark deal brokered by Spain.

The deal came after dissident hunger striker Guillermo Farinas nearly starved to death.

If all 52 dissidents are freed, it will be the largest release of Cuban prisoners since 1998 when 300 dissidents were spared jail time following a visit by then pope John Paul II.

© 2010 AFP

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