Cuba has released two more political dissidents -- Hector Maseda and Angel Moya – from prison in a deal arranged by the Catholic Church.
Maseda and Moya -- who refused to go into exile in Spain – are also demanding full pardons as well as the release of other prisoners who are suffering from illnesses in jail.
Last summer, the Communist regime had agreed to release a total of 52 political prisoners, including Maseda and Moya, who have returned to their Havana homes. (Seven of those dissidents remain incarcerated).
The two were among 75 people arrested and imprisoned in 2003 during a government purge of dissidents. They were sentenced to twenty years for committing “crimes against the state.”
The US and the European Union have demanded the release of dissidents in exchange for lifting economic sanctions against Cuba.
It is believed that as many as 100 political prisoners languish in Cuban jails.
Maseda, 68, is former nuclear engineer who had founded the banned Liberal Democratic Party. His wife Laura Pollan, the leader of the Ladies in White, a group agitating for the freedom of all political prisoners in Cuba.
Moya, 46, is a construction worker, whose wife Berta Soler is also a member of the Ladies in White.
Another prominent dissident, Guido Sigler Amaya, who also refused to go into exile in Spain, was released recently.
Amaya is a member of the human rights group Movimiento Opción Alternativa (Alternative Option Movement) based in northwestern Cuba.