Three journalists among first to be released in Cuba

New York, July 8, 2010—José Luis García PanequePablo Pacheco Ávila, and Lester Luis González Pentón, independent Cuban journalists imprisoned during the 2003 crackdown against the political opposition and the press, are among the five dissidents to be released soon and sent to Spain as part of an agreement between the government of President Raúl Castro and the Catholic Church, international press reports said today.

“We’re anxiously awaiting the release of our colleagues and we’re following the developments closely day to day,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “These journalists and their families have suffered terribly. We’re hoping to finally see an end to their ordeal.” 

In a statement on Wednesday, Cuba’s Roman Catholic Church said Castro had agreed to promptly release five political prisoners, who will leave for Spain with their families. The church’s statement said that 47 other dissidents will be freed over a three- to four-month period.