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Six more Cuban political prisoner due in Spain

Published on 01/09/2010

Six more political prisoners from Cuba were due to arrive in Spain in the coming days, bringing to more than 30 the number who have reached the country since July, the Spanish government said.

“Six former political prisoners” are expected at Madrid’s airport with their families “from tomorrow,” Thursday “and throughout next week,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

They were not named, but the Catholic Church in Cuba last week identified them as Victor Arroyo, 56, Alexis Rodriguez, 40, Leonel Grave de Peralta, 34, Alfredo Dominguez, 48, Prospero Gainza, 53, and Claro Sanchez, 57, condemned to terms of 14 to 26 years for dissident activities.

Their arrival would bring to 32 the number of Cuban political prisoners who have come in Spain since July.

In a deal struck between the Roman Catholic Church and the government of President Raul Castro that was brokered by Spain, Cuba agreed to free 52 of 75 dissidents sentenced in 2003 to prison terms of up to 28 years.

Havana agreed to free the dissidents within a period of four months after hunger striker Guillermo Farinas nearly starved to death in Cuba.

Another political prisoner, Orlando Zapata, died in detention on February 23 after 85 days on hunger strike.

Cuban dissidents say that even after the release of the 52, another 115 political prisoners will still be languishing behind bars in Cuba.