Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spain says US to take Cuba prisoners

Posted on Sunday, 08.22.10
Spain says US to take Cuba prisoners
Associated Press Writer

MADRID -- The United States is prepared to take in Cuban political
prisoners following their release from jail, Spain's Foreign Ministry
said Sunday.

A ministry spokesman said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told her
Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos in a phone conversation that
the U.S. would be prepared to accept dissidents so long as the transfer
did not break any laws.

The spokesman said Clinton had congratulated Moratinos for Spain's joint
effort with the Roman Catholic church to arrange the release of
dissidents arrested in a March 2003 crackdown.

Some 75 dissidents were arrested in 2003 and sentenced to lengthy prison
terms on charges that included treason.

In a landmark deal after talks with the church and Spain, Cuba agreed on
July 7 to release 52 prisoners still being held.

Spain has so far accepted 25 Cuban dissidents, but some have refused
release, saying they will only go to the U.S.

Katherine Ortiz, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, said she
had no details on the matter, adding that the Department of Homeland
Security normally assesses the status of such negotiations.

All the dissidents released so far have agreed to leave Cuba for Spain;
one later settled in Chile.

The ministry spokesman said that Clinton had also briefed Moratinos on
Mideast talks to take place on Sept. 2 in Washington between Israeli and
Palestinian negotiators.

The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with government

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