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Cuba releases next-to-last of its 75 dissidents

Cuba releases dissident Felix Navarro after arresting him in a 2003 government arrest wave

AFP , Wednesday 23 Mar 2011
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Cuba has freed another opposition activist, a relative of the man said Wednesday, which means that all but one of the 75 dissidents detained by the government in 2003 now have been released.

The daughter of dissident Felix Navarro told AFP that her father was released in the early hours Wednesday.

"My dad is already home; he arrived this morning," Sayli Navarro told AFP.

Felix Navarro, 57, a teacher and political activist who was sentenced to 25 years in jail, was one of just two remaining dissidents of a group detained by the Havana government eight years ago.

The 75 were detained in a repressive sweep in March 2003, which raised international uproar and provoked the European Union to cancel official visits to Cuba and suspend cooperation programmes.

Between 2003 and 2010, 23 of the 75 were freed, mainly for health reasons, while Cuba's Catholic church reached a deal to free 52 more in May 2010.

From 7 July last year, 40 of the 52 were freed to go into exile in Spain, and 10 others later left prison to remain in Cuba.

The last remaining imprisoned activist Jose Ferrer, a 40-year-old fisherman and member of a dissident movement, was also due to be released soon.

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