Cuba grants amnesty to thousands of prisoners


Guardian
December 24, 2011

Cuba’s supreme governing body has pardoned nearly 3,000 prisoners, including some convicted of political crimes, though no mention was made of jailed American government subcontractor Alan Gross, whose case has become a sticking point between Havana and Washington.

The Council of State agreed to release 2,900 prisoners, among them inmates who are over 60 years old or are ill, women and young people with minor criminal records. President Raul Castro cited an upcoming visit by the Pope among the reasons for the amnesty, saying the humanitarian act showed Cuba’s strength.

Those convicted of serious crimes like murder, espionage or drug trafficking will not be part of the amnesty, though some people convicted of political crimes are on the release list.

“Some people condemned for crimes against state security will be freed,” read an official government missive cited by news agency Prensa Latina. “All of them have completed an important portion of their sentence and shown good behaviour.”

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