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Cuba frees another dissident

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Cuba frees another dissident

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HAVANA, Cuba – The Roman Catholic Church in Cuba said yesterday that the Raul Castro administration has agreed to free another prominent political prisoner and send eight others into exile in Spain.
Church spokesman Orlando Marquez said the government has agreed to release Diosdado Gonzalez, 48, leaving in jail just five of 75 dissidents incarcerated in a 2003 crackdown.
Gonzalez, an electrician and farmer, is the husband of Alejandrina Garcia, a leader of the “Ladies in White” opposition group, who briefly launched a hunger strike last month to demand his release.
In addition to Gonzalez, Marquez said the Cuban government has released eight prisoners jailed for various offenses, including hijacking and trying to leave the country illegally. He said they will be allowed to go to Spain along with their families.
The latest release comes as Cuban security officials on Wednesday detained dozens of protesters and put several under house arrest as nationals marked the anniversary of the death of dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
Zapata Tamayo died on February 23 last year after a long hunger striker, protesting prison conditions in Cuba.
Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz, a human rights activist here said about 45 dissidents were detained on Wednesday and nearly 60 confined to their homes in what he described as “a wave of preventive repression.”
Cuban security officials regularly detain dissidents to keep them from attending opposition gatherings, and release them hours or days later. (CMC)