Cuban prisoner release a positive step: US

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The United States Tuesday welcomed the release of seven Cuban dissidents as a positive move for the Communist island, the State Department said in a statement.

"While the United States continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, this is a positive development that we hope will represent a step towards increased respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba," spokesman Philip Crowley said.

"All those released from prison should be free to decide for themselves whether to remain in Cuba or travel to another country," he said.

The seven dissidents, who were flown to Spain upon their release, were the first of 52 to be freed under an agreement that will see the biggest release of Cuban political detainees since Raul Castro took over power from his brother Fidel Castro four years ago.

© 2010 AFP

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