Cuba frees leading dissident

Oscar Elias Biscet is one of last political prisoners freed under last year's deal between Havana and Catholic Church.

    Oscar Elias Biscet, who was serving a 25-year sentence, said he would continue opposing the government [EPA]

    The Cuban government has freed one of the country's leading dissidents, but he says he will keep protesting against the government.

    Oscar Elias Biscet, freed on Friday, is one of the last of 52 political prisoners released under an accord between president Raul Castro and Cuba's Catholic Church last July.

    "I am fine; very happy to be reunited with the family," he told the AFP news agency.

    "It goes without saying that I will continue in the opposition because even in jail I did not give up my questioning attitude toward this government and the abuses it commits."

    Police escorted the 49-year-old Biscet from the Combinado del Este prison to his house in Havana, the capital.

    Biscet, who was serving a 25-year prison sentence following a crackdown on dissidents in 2003, was perhaps the most prominent member of the group of 52 who were to be freed under a deal last year negotiated with Spain and Catholic
    church officials.

    The government has released 40 of the dissidents who agreed to go into exile in Spain, but initially balked at freeing the others. Authorities later released eight others, and after Biscet's release, only three of them remain behind bars.

    During his incarceration, Biscet was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 by then-president George Bush.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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