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Cubans call for release of U.S.-held spies

Jan. 1, 2010 at 8:35 PM

HAVANA, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Relatives of five Cubans convicted in the United States of spying for Cuba called Friday for President Barack Obama to release them, officials said.

The operatives were arrested in southern Florida in 1998 and charged with "conspiracy to gather and deliver defense information to aid a foreign government, that is, the Republic of Cuba," the Web site killinghope.org reported.

They were also charged with failing to register as agents of a foreign government.

The five did not deny their operations, saying they were spying on anti-Castro Cuban exiles in the United States who they alleged were carrying out terrorist activities against Cuba.

After a trial in 2000, three were sentenced to life terms; the two others received sentences of 19 and 15 years.

The relatives made their plea to Global Exchange, a U.S.-Cuba solidarity group promoting exchanges and visits with representatives of both countries, Cuba's Communist Party newspaper Granma said.

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