MADRID – Seven former political prisoners released by the Cuban government arrived in Madrid Jul 13. They were the first of 52 prisoners released in a deal partially brokered by the Cuban Catholic Church.

The men said in a joint statement they hoped their 45 fellow prisoners would be released soon.

The prisoner release will continue over four months, part of a process that began with a May 19 meeting of Cuban President Raul Castro, Cardinal Ortega and Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez of Santiago, president of the Cuban bishops’ conference.

As part of the deal, more than a dozen prisoners were transferred to prisons closer to their homes.

The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said the announcement about the prisoner release brought “long-awaited good news from the Caribbean island”.

For the full report, please get your copy of the CatholicNews this weekend

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