All denied the charges, as did US officials.

Sigler had been a fit and healthy boxer when he was arrested, but developed paralysis below the waist while in jail and has to use a wheelchair.

Shortly after Sigler's release in June church officials reached a landmark agreement with the Cuban government for a further 52 prisoner to be released.

So far 15 additional prisoners have been released as part of that deal, with five more set to be freed at any time.

To date all of those freed have been sent, along with their families, to exile in Spain.

Officials have said it will likely take months before all 52 are freed.

Sigler's family said that after receiving a US visa and clearance from the Cuban authorities to leave, he planned to fly to the US next week.

His US visa is only for him, meaning no family members will be allowed to come - at least not immediately, a relative told the Associated Press news agency.