Latin America & Caribbean

Cuba ready to free more political prisoners

Cuban dissidents at Madrid's Barajas airport on 13 July
Image caption Some freed dissidents have already arrived in Spain

The president of Cuba's parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, has said the island's government is ready to release more political prisoners after announcing this month it would free 52.

They could remain on the island if they wished, he added.

Cuba has agreed to free the 52 prisoners under a deal reached with the Catholic Church and Spain.

Some 115 political prisoners would remain in Cuba once the 52 are freed, according to figures from dissidents.

"It was very clear from the discussions that the government's wish is to free all the people" on condition they had not been accused of murder, Mr Alarcon said on the sidelines of a conference in Geneva.

Eleven freed Cuban dissidents arrived last week in Spain, and a further nine are expected to join them in the coming days.

Cuba has been under pressure to free dissidents since one prisoner on hunger strike, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, died in February.

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