Three more Cuban dissidents arrive in Spain

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Three more political prisoners from Cuba, freed in a deal between Havana and the Catholic Church, arrived in Spain Tuesday while another three are expected this week, the Spanish foreign ministry said.

Marcelo Cano, a 45-year-old doctor, poet Regis Iglesias, 40, and Efren Fernandez, 57, who briefly went on a hunger strike, arrived at Madrid airport accompanied by 15 relatives, a foreign ministry source said.

Another three -- journalists Juan Carlos Herrera, 44, Fabio Prieto, 47 and Juan Fernandez, 61 -- are also expected in Spain, "probably on Thursday," the source said.

The six will join 20 others who came to Spain last month after their release by the communist government in Havana.

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

The agreement followed talks between Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the Archbishop of Havana, and President Raul Castro in May.

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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