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Cuba frees first prisoners since US ties restored

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The Cuban government on Wednesday released at least three political prisoners, the first to be set free since the United States and Cuba agreed to restore diplomatic relations, human rights advocates said.

The three were imprisoned for being members of the outlawed opposition movement Unpacu and had spent between two and two-and-a-half years behind bars.

Their release was confirmed by the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation in Havana.

Cuban President Raoul Castro last month pledged to release the dissidents as a “humanitarian gesture,” part of the US-Cuba agreement to restore diplomatic relations after 50 years of isolation.

A US State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday that the United States

would send a top-level diplomat to Cuba even if Havana had not fulfilled its promise to release 53 political prisoners.

The diplomat, Roberta Jacobsen, is to be sent to Havana to handle the groundwork of restoring diplomatic relations. SAPA


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