HAVANA (AFP) – Cuba’s Roman Catholic church announced Saturday that arrangements have been made for the release of a political prisoner who had refused exile in Spain.
Diosdado Gonzalez, 48, an electrician by trade, was one of six dissidents left from a group of 75 imprisoned in a 2003 crackdown by Cuba’s communist regime.
Gonzalez, who is a member of the outlawed Peace, Democracy and Freedom Party, went on several hunger strikes while in prison, according to his wife Alejandrina Garcia, a member of the activist group Ladies in White.
The group, led by wives and other female relatives of political prisoners, won the European parliament’s Sakharov human rights prize in 2005.
“In continuation of the process of liberation of prisoners, we inform that the release from jail of Diosdado Gonzalez has been arranged,” said Orlando Marquez, a spokesman for the office of the archbishop of Havana.
Separately the church said another eight Cuban prisoners would be released soon and head into exile in Spain.
The eight are prisoners convicted of activities deemed a danger to the state, but are not considered political prisoners insofar as they were not activists with a political group opposing the only one-party communist regime in the Americas.
The eight are Osvaldo Gonzalez, Jose Miguel Fernandez, Enrique Martinez, Jose Rodriguez, Carlos Martin, Ernesto Duran, Gilberto Martinez and Mario Alberto Perez, a church statement added.