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Cuba to release dissident

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Reuters

The Cuban government has agreed to release political dissident Oscar Elias Biscet and allow him to stay in the country. Another nine prisoners jailed for violent crimes will also be released, the Catholic Church said Thursday.


 

Biscet, a doctor, was arrested in 2003 during a crackdown against dissidents. He was given a 25-year sentence, having refused to go into exile in Spain.

In 2007, then-US President George Bush awarded Biscet the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.

After six years of negotiations with the Catholic Church and Spain, Cuban President Raul Castro last year agreed to release 52 political prisoners out of a group of 75 arrested eight years ago.

The other nine prisoners who are being released – Rene Amor, Jorge Adan, Fidel Rangel, Osvell Valle, Randol Roca, Juan Rodriguez, Douglas Faxas, Carlos Diaz and Armando Alcantara – will go to exile in Spain.

They were convicted on charges of weapons, terror, hijacking and other state security crimes, but were not considered political prisoners because they were not members of a political group.