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Cuba to Free Four More Political Prisoners in Deal With Church

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Four Cuban political prisoners will be released and sent to Spain, bringing to 36 the number of dissidents liberated and sent abroad under an agreement between President Raul Castro and the Catholic Church, according to a statement by the church.

The four prisoners are among 52 whom Cuba had agreed to free in negotiations brokered with the backing of the Spanish government, according to a statement on the archbishop’s website.

The four, Nelson Molinet Espino, Hector Raul Valle Hernandez, Miguel Galvan Gutierrez and Jose Miguel Martinez Hernandez, were among 75 arrested in a 2003 crackdown on dissidents known as the “black spring.”

The church is negotiating terms of release for the remaining 16 prisoners, some of whom have requested to be sent to other countries such as the U.S. or to stay on the island, said Nelson Crespo, an aide to the archbishop.

“All the remaining prisoners will be liberated,” Crespo said by phone from Havana.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Schmidt in Granada, Nicaragua at Bschmidt16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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