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Latino Daily News

Thursday December 29, 2011

Seven Political Prisoners Being Held in Cuba Pardoned

Seven Political Prisoners Being Held in Cuba Pardoned

Photo: Seven Political Prisoners Being Held in Cuba Pardoned

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The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported Thursday that among the more than 3,000 pardoned prisoners in Cuba are seven political prisoners, two more than had been known of to date.

Commission spokesman Elizardo Sanchez said in a communique that by Wednesday the release of two other political prisoners had been confirmed.

The two additional prisoners are Alexis Ramirez Reyes, sentenced to 18 years behind bars for sabotage, and Modesto Alexei Martinez Torres, who was serving a 12-year sentence for attempted air piracy for planning to steal a crop dusting plane to flee Cuba.

The previously confirmed releases of political prisoners included those of Carlos Martinez Ballester, Yordani Martinez Carvajal, Walfrido Rodriguez Piloto, Iran Gonzalez Torna and Augusto Guerra Marquez.

The rights commission said on Thursday that it felt it was “not very probable that the number of pardoned political prisoners is more than seven.”

According to the Commission, the total number of people convicted of “crimes against the (Cuban) state” now stands at about 60, including 16 who are free on parole.

“Despite this slight reduction, the Cuban government continues to have the largest number of prisoners in the said category in the entire Western Hemisphere, at the same time that it persists in its practice of ‘releasing with one hand and imprisoning new prisoners with the other,’” the communique warns.

The Cuban government last Wednesday published in the official gazette a decree that included the names of all the prisoners benefitting from the pardon for humanitarian reasons announced by President Raul Castro before the national legislature last week.