Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cuba frees another political prisoner

Iván Hernández Carrillo
Cuba has freed another political prisoner, leaving only six still behind bars from a group of 52 that President Raúl Castro has promised to release, the Catholic Church said.

The latest was Iván Hernández Carrillo, who had been jailed since a 2003 government crackdown on opponents and was serving a 25-year sentence.

Castro has said he wants to clear all political prisoners from Cuban jails in an apparent attempt to end one of Cuba's thorniest international issues as it moves into a new era of economic reform.

In a deal brokered by the Church, Castro agreed in July to free the 52, those remaining in jail after 75 were arrested in the 2003 crackdown, which drew wide condemnation of the communist-led government.

Hernández, 39, told reporters from his family's home in Colón, 135 miles (220 km) southeast of Havana, that he was "very happy to be in my house, sharing freedom with my family and friends."

He vowed to resume his work as an independent journalist, which led to his imprisonment in 2003, and fight "for freedom of expression, for respect for human rights."

Castro wanted the freed dissidents to go to Spain, which agreed to take them, and most have. But the last prisoners, including Hernández, have refused to go and will be allowed to stay in Cuba.

Cuba views dissidents as mercenaries who work for the United States.

It is not clear how many more political prisoners Cuba has, but it has been releasing most of those who jailed for committing crimes either while trying to flee Cuba or during activities against the government.

The Church said in a separate announcement that six other prisoners not included in the group of 52 would be freed soon and sent to Spain.

Source: Buenos Aires Herald

  • Go to Home Page
  • No comments:

    Post a Comment