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Cuba frees more political prisoners

Feb. 12, 2011 at 2:50 PM   |   Comments

HAVANA, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The Roman Catholic Church brokered the release of two of Cuba's political prisoners, but one of them said he wouldn't leave until his demands are met.

Eduardo Diaz was released from jail Saturday, but Hector Maseda said he won't go unless two conditions are met, Radio Free Europe reported Saturday.

Both were serving sentences of 20 years or more for treason and other charges.

Maseda's wife, Laura Pollan, said he would remain in jail until the government meets two conditions: "One, that the sick get out, and two, that it be a pardon or unconditional release. So I don't know how long it will be before I go and visit him."

The two are among 52 imprisoned political dissidents Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to free in a negotiation handled by the Roman Catholic Church, the BBC reported.

Less than 10 of the dissidents, which Cuban officials usually refer to as criminals or mercenaries paid by Washington to cause chaos in the communist system, remain in custody and the BBC reported several more would be released over the weekend.

The group has been in jail since 2003. They were part of a government crackdown and were detained along with 73 other opposition figures.

Opposition groups estimated about 100 people are political prisoners in Cuba.

The release of political prisoners is a requirement Cuba must meet to improve its relations and economic development with the United States and the European Union, the BBC said.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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