Foreigners and political prisoners among those freed in Cuba by the Council of State as part of a New Year’s ‘humanitarian gesture’ according to President Raul Castro.

A New Year’s amnesty announced by President Raul Castro is being hailed as a humanitarian gesture that grants freedom to over 2,500 prisoners, including political prisoners and foreigners held in Cuba. The Council of State is being praised for this massive amnesty that comes ahead of a papal visit to the Communist nation. The Cuban Commission on Human Rights welcomed the amnesty but cautioned against being overly optimistic, reminding the world that approximately 80,000 Cubans are still in prison. Reports of prisoners protesting the blanket amnesty is being reported, with prisoners in Boniato in Santiago de Cuba sewing their mouths shut and going on a hunger strike. This deal mirrors that brokered in 2010 when Cuba freed 130 prisoners at the request of the Catholic Church.

 

[Al-Jazeera]