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Two Cuban Dissidents Released Under Protest

Cuba's dissident Angel Moya, right, speaks on the phone next to fellow dissident Hector Maseda, left, after being released from jail in Havana, Cuba, February 12, 2011.

Cuba has released two prominent political prisoners, despite the men's insistence that they wanted to remain in jail until other opposition leaders were freed.

Hector Maseda and Angel Moya said jail officials told them Saturday they could no longer stay in prison.

Maseda was released first. Moya was freed later in the day.

The men are two of the 52 political prisoners Cuban President Raul Castro has agreed to release as part of an agreement with Cuba's Roman Catholic Church. Most already have been set free and sent into exile in Spain. If all 52 dissidents are freed, it would be Cuba's largest mass liberation of political prisoners in recent years.

The wives of Maseda and Moya are leaders of the Ladies in White, a group that marches every Sunday in Havana to demand the release of political prisoners.

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