Catholic Church says Cuba offers to free 47 political prisoners, let them leave countryBy AP
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Church: Cuba offers to free 47 political prisoners
HAVANA — Cuba’s Roman Catholic Church said Wednesday that the communist government has agreed to free 47 political prisoners and allow them to leave the country in what would be the largest mass liberation of prisoners of conscience on the island in decades.
The announcement followed a meeting between President Raul Castro and Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the archbishop of Havana. Also participating was visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez.
In a statement, Ortega’s office said that all who had been offered freedom were members of a group of 75 leading political opposition activists, community organizers and journalists who report on Cuba in defiance of state controls on media. They were rounded up in a crackdown on dissent in March 2003.
Some 54 of those have remained behind bars — most serving lengthy prison terms on charges of conspiring with Washington to destabilize Cuba’s political system.
Tags: Caribbean, Cuba, Havana, Latin America And Caribbean, Religious Issues