Havana — Cuban church officials on Saturday released the names of 12 more political prisoners who will be freed and sent into exile in the coming days under a landmark agreement with President Raul Castro’s government, bringing to 17 the total number of jailed dissidents who have accepted asylum in Spain.
While there has been no word on when the men will be freed, there are growing signs that a release could be imminent, with the wife of one prisoner saying Cuban officials told her to prepare to leave the country.
“They (Cuban officials) called me to tell me to get ready to leave, because they would be around to get us,” Barbara Rojo, the wife of prisoner Omar Ruiz, told The Associated Press.
Another prisoner, Jose Luis Garcia, was being moved from a jail in Las Tunas to Havana, said his mother, Moralinda Paneque.
The 17 are among a group of 52 opposition leaders, journalists and activists who remain in jail following a broad crackdown on dissent in 2003 that resulted in lengthy prison terms on treason and other charges.