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Cuba Releases 2nd Dissident in Less Than a Week

A Cuban human rights group says the government has released a dissident after he served three years in prison on charges of disrespecting authorities and resisting arrest.

Elizardo Sanchez, the president of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation says authorities freed Lazaro Gonzalez Adan Tuesday in the eastern city of Camaguey.

The Havana-based commission says police arrested Gonzalez Adan in October 2004 after he painted on his home quotes from national independence leader Jose Marti deemed critical of the government.

Gonzalez Adan was detained after ignoring police orders to erase the words.

The commission says he is the second dissident to be released in less than a week, but it says both former prisoners were freed because they served their time. On Friday, the government released human rights activist Francisco Chaviano Gonzalez after more than 13 years in prison.

The former mathematics professor was arrested in 1994 and sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges that included revealing state security secrets.

The commission says the number of political prisoners in Cuba has fallen to about 244 from at least 283 at the start of 2007.

Cuba's government denies holding political prisoners and describes dissidents as mercenaries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.