Cuba to release last of Black Spring dissidents, cardinal says
Cuba will release the final batch of dissidents jailed in the so-called Black Spring of 2003, Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega said Monday during a visit to Spain, DPA reported.
Forty of the 52 dissidents who had remained in prison from the initial group of 75 jailed in the Black Spring have arrived in Spain so far, along with other released Cuban prisoners. One of the 52 stayed in Cuba after being set free.
The 11 who are still behind bars have rejected Spain's offer to accept them. Cardinal Ortega said he had a "clear promise" that the 11 would be released, though he could not say when.
Some of them might choose to travel to the United States, Ortega said.
Ortega, who has mediated in attempts to persuade Havana to free dissidents, met with some of the dissidents now living in Spain.
Following weeks of negotiations, the Roman Catholic Church and the Cuban government made a deal in early July, for the release of the 52 dissidents jailed in the Black Spring.
A total of 75 dissidents were then handed prison terms of up to 28 years on charges such as being "mercenaries" in the service of the United States.