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Release all political prisoners, Cuban urges

October 22, 2009|Reuters

HAVANA — A day after his surprise release from prison, Cuban dissident Nelson Aguiar urged the government Wednesday to free all political prisoners and said he was at one point held in "Stone Age" conditions during his six years behind bars.

Aguiar, 64, said he was stunned that he was out of jail because he still had years to go on a 13-year sentence handed out in a 2003 government crackdown on dissidents. Aguiar was one of 75 government opponents arrested and jailed in what became known as the Black Spring of 2003.

Aguiar called on Cuba's government "to recognize its errors and little by little, if they can't do it all at once, to continue freeing the prisoners of conscience."

In an interview, Aguiar thanked the Spanish government for helping to obtain his freedom, which followed a visit to communist-led Cuba by Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. Moratinos met with Cuban President Raul Castro on Monday.

The 2003 crackdown on dissidents caused the European Union to impose diplomatic sanctions on Cuba. Last year, at the urging of Spain and others, the 27-nation EU lifted the sanctions and reestablished cooperation with Cuba.

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