Cuban dissident in Spain speaks out

Feb. 19, 2008 at 12:50 AM

MADRID, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A Cuban dissident sent into exile in Spain has spoken out against the conditions of his detention in his communist homeland, it was reported Monday.

Pedro Alvarez said he and the three other Cuban dissidents sent to Spain were held in a prison alongside convicted criminals under terrible conditions, El Pais reported online.

Alvarez, a trade unionist, and reporters Jose Ramon and Alejandro Gonzalez and dissident Omar Pernet, were flown with their families from Havana to Madrid Sunday on a Spanish air force jet, the BBC reported. The four were among 75 Cubans convicted five years ago of being U.S. mercenaries, the British network said.

The BBC said the four were among seven prisoners Cuba was expected to release on unspecified health grounds following negotiations with Spain. The other three are expected to be flown to the United States, the BBC said.

They were among 59 dissidents still imprisoned in Cuba. Sixteen had been released earlier, also for health reasons.

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