In a carefully timed move, Cuba will free five more political prisoners, bringing the total number to 57, the Roman Catholic Church announced Thursday.
The announcement comes before the 27-nation E.U. block meets to review its hard-line policy toward the totalitarian nation, which is seeking to bolster its economy through increased trade.
Church officials said the five dissidents -- Juana Maria Nieves, Domingo Ozuna, Juan Francisco Marimon, Misael Mena and Jose Luis Ramil -- have agreed to leave prison and be transferred to Spain.
They will join the 52 prisoners set for release after a deal was reached in May
The May 23 agreement was struck two months after the highly publicized death of dissident Orlando Zapata after a long hunger strike. In July, the Cuban government released dissident Guillermo Farinas, who on Thursday was given the European Parliament's prestigious 2010 "Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought."
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The 52 political prisoners are among the 75 jailed during a government crackdown in March 2003. Some of the prisoners were sentenced to as long as 28 years behind bars.