More Cuban dissidents arrive in Spain

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Two more political prisoners from Cuba arrived in Spain Thursday, bringing to 25 the number who have reached the country following their release by Havana in a deal with the Catholic Church.

The two journalists -- Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, 44, and Fabio Prieto Llorente, 47 -- arrived on separate flights accompanied by a total of 16 relatives, an AFP photographer at the airport said.

Twenty Cuban dissidents arrived in Spain last month and a three more on Tuesday following their release by Havana.

One more, 61-year-old journalist Juan Adolfo Fernandez, is expected on Friday.

In a deal struck between the 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.

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

The three who came on Tuesday lashed out at the communist government, accusing it of using the release of dissidents to hide the "criminal repression" of its opponents.

The releases came after dissident hunger striker Guillermo Farinas nearly starved to death in Cuba.

Havana wants to avoid a repeat of the death in detention of political prisoner Orlando Zapata on February 23, as it seeks closer international ties to improve its slumping economy.

© 2010 AFP

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