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February 02, 2011

Catholic Church: Cuba to Free 4 More Political Prisoners

Cuban Roman Catholic Church officials say the government has agreed to release four more political prisoners and send them into exile in Spain.

The Church made the announcement Wednesday, saying Alexis Borges, Victor Jesus Hechavarria, Osmel Arevalos Nunez and Rodrigo Gelacio Santos are to be freed in the coming days. Reports, however, say the men are not among a group of dissidents who were jailed in a 2003 Cuban government crackdown and who were to have been set free by the end of 2010.

Last year, Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to release 52 political prisoners who were detained in the 2003 round up and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.  At least 39 of those activists were freed after agreeing to emigrate to Spain with their families.

Cuba has long maintained that it does not hold political prisoners, only "mercenaries" Havana claims were working with the United States to undermine Cuban communism.

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