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Cuba to pardon over 3,500 prisoners ahead of Pope's visit

Friday, September 11, 2015 - 01:02

Cuba will release 3,522 prisoners on the occasion of the upcoming papal visit, but the fate of political prisoners -- which Havana denies having -- remains unclear. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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Preparations are in full swing for the upcoming papal visit to Cuba. And amid the excitement, Cuba announces it will pardon and release some 3,522 prisoners. ... a move many Cubans see as a step in the right direction: (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN CITIZEN, LAZARO, SAYING: "It is a positive measure, that despite what these people have done they will be pardoned. I do not know what brought about this process but I see it as a positive measure." Cuba, which officially denies it has political prisoners, said those convicted of crimes against state security would not be among those released. --- nor would prisoners convicted of the most violent crimes. Havana released 53 political prisoners in December and January under a historic U.S.-Cuba accord. But many protesters say their freedom is conditional and subject to being returned to jail at any moment.

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Cuba to pardon over 3,500 prisoners ahead of Pope's visit

Friday, September 11, 2015 - 01:02