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February 03, 2011

Cuba to Release 2 Political Prisoners

The Cuban Roman Catholic Church says Havana has agreed to release two jailed political prisoners and allow one of them to stay in the country.

Church officials announced the agreement Friday, which allows Angel Moya to stay in Cuba, and Guido Sigler to go into exile in the United States.

The release of Moya and Sigler, and nine other dissidents, has been delayed because they had refused to leave Cuba.  The men are among a group of political prisoners jailed in a 2003 government crackdown and who were to have been set free by the end of 2010.

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

On Wednesday, the church announced four other political prisoners will be released in coming days and sent into exile in Spain.

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

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