Cuba releases jailed dissident Oscar Elias Biscet
- 12 March 2011
- From the section Latin America & Caribbean
The Cuban government has freed a jailed dissident who refused to go into exile in Spain as a condition for release.
Oscar Elias Biscet, 49, was one of 75 opponents of the government sentenced to long prison terms in 2003.
He told the Efe news agency he would continue his non-violent resistance and his fight for human rights on the communist-ruled island.
Mr Biscet said he was grateful he had been able to leave prison in good mental and physical health.
"The Cuban authorities did not manage to make me mentally ill, as they were hoping to do," he told reporters at his home in the capital, Havana.
He is one of a group of more than 50 dissidents whose release was negotiated by the Catholic Church in Cuba.
Most of those freed agreed to go into exile in Spain, but Mr Biscet said he would remain in his home country.
"I have always lived in Cuba, I am from Cuba," he said.
He told reporters gathered at his home that he had never stopped fighting and that he had never strayed from the path of non-violent resistance, not even in prison.
Mr Biscet was sentenced to 25 years in prison on charges of working with the United States to subvert the Cuban government.
While serving his prison sentence, he was awarded America's highest civilian honour, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, by George W Bush.
Mr Biscet's arrest was part of a 2003 crackdown on political opponents of the government during which 75 dissidents were arrested.
Three of them remain in custody: Jose Daniel Ferrer, Librado Linares and Felix Navarro.