Thursday, April 18, 2024

Cuban dissident freed


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HAVANA – A Cuban dissident whose release from prison had been delayed because of his refusal to leave the Spanish-speaking Caribbean country has been freed on humanitarian grounds.
Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique was resting early yesterday in his home in Havana, the Cuban capital, his wife, Lidia Lima, told reporters here.
Lima said a Roman Catholic Church representative had told her that Ramos would be released from prison Saturday morning, but it was not until 9 p.m. local time that he made it home.Ramos, 68, is the oldest of 75 people arrested and imprisoned in Cuba in March 2003, a group described as “prisoners of conscience” by the human rights watchdog, Amnesty International.
Ramos was sentenced to 18 years in prison along with the other activists on charges of receiving money and support from the United States to destroy the revolution.
After a meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro on July 7, Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega announced that the 52 still in prison would be released over the course of four months.
A total of 39 of the men were freed and sent into exile in Spain, but progress stalled as the last 13 refused to leave Cuba.
Ramos had refused to take the deal, but Archbishop of Havana Monsignor Juan de Dios Hernandez Ruiz said on Saturday that Ramos was being freed on parole and “staying in Cuba for humanitarian reasons.”
Another man, Luis Enrique Ferrer Garcia, will be freed and transported to Spain, the archbishop said.
The group was jailed in a crackdown against the dissident movement in March 2003, Amnesty International said.
“They were sentenced to between six and 28 years in prison after speedy and unfair trials for engaging in activities the authorities perceived as subversive and damaging to Cuba,” the organization said. (CMC)


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