Cuba to free another prisoner from 2003 crackdown

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 21, 2011 11:18 AM
Cuba to free another prisoner from 2003 crackdown

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba will release one of the last political prisoners still in jail from a 2003 government crackdown, the Catholic Church said on Wednesday.

Ricardo Librado Linares Garcia, who has been serving a 20-year sentence, was expected to be freed in the next day or two, said his wife, Magalys Broche de la Cruz.

His release would leave only two men remaining behind bars from the 75 dissidents arrested in what was known as Cuba's "Black Spring."

The crackdown soured international relations for the communist-led island, whose leaders view dissidents as mercenaries for the United States.

President Raul Castro agreed in a deal with the Catholic Church last July to free the 52 prisoners still in jail from the Black Spring crackdown.

Most of them have gone to Spain because Cuba wants them to leave the country, but a dozen insisted on staying in their homeland and were the last to be freed.

Apart from the dissidents jailed in 2003, Cuba has been releasing others imprisoned for politically motivated crimes.

The Church said on Wednesday nine more would be freed soon and sent to Spain, which has agreed to take them in.

(Reporting by Rosa Tania Valdes; Editing by Jeff Franks)