Last Cuban political prisoner arrives in Spain

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The last of six Cuban political prisoners to be freed this week as part of a deal between Havana and the Vatican arrived in Madrid Friday, a diplomatic source said.

Juan Adolfo Fernandez, a 61-year-old journalist who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2003 was accompanied by two other people, the source said.

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.

Twenty dissidents arrived in Spain last month, and six this week in the latest batch whose release was announced by the church on August 13.

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.

© 2010 AFP

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