International News

Five More Cuban Dissidents to be Freed

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."

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.

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Jorge Casuso
Contact: Jorge Casuso