Tags: US | Cuba | dissident | release

US Praises Cuban Dissident Release

Tuesday, 15 Jun 2010 05:18 AM

WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday welcomed Cuba's release of a paraplegic political prisoner, Ariel Sigler, but urged Havana to release all such detainees in the Americas' sole one-party communist regime.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley hailed Sigler's release as a "positive development."

The ailing Cuban dissident was freed Saturday after landmark talks between the Catholic Church and Cuban President Raul Castro. Sigler immediately vowed to push hard to win "freedom and democracy" for Cuba.

"We hope that this will lead to the release of additional prisoners of conscience," Crowley added stressing that such "prisoners should be released immediately and unconditionally."

Ariel Sigler Amaya, now at home in Matanzas, Cuba, languished behind bars for over six years. The 46-year-old was part of a group of 73 political dissidents picked up in a broad crackdown by the communist government in March 2003.

Six other dissidents will also be moved to jails in their home provinces on Saturday to be closer to their relatives as a result of the talks, according to the Havana archbishop's office.

Sigler and the other six detainees were among 53 of the original 73 activists picked up in 2003 still held in prison.

The Cuban Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission (CCDHRN) -- an outlawed but tolerated group -- estimates there are some 200 political prisoners in the Caribbean nation of more than 11 million people.

Cuban authorities consider them a threat to national security, and claim the prisoners are "mercenaries" on Washington's pay, out to smear the Cuban government.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday welcomed Cuba's release of a paraplegic political prisoner, Ariel Sigler, but urged Havana to release all such detainees in the Americas' sole one-party communist regime.
US,Cuba,dissident,release
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2010-18-15
Tuesday, 15 Jun 2010 05:18 AM
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