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US calls Cuban dissident release ‘positive development’

US calls Cuban dissident release ‘positive development’
Published on Thursday, June 24, 2010

WASHINGTON, USA (AFP) — The United States on Wednesday called the release of jailed dissident physician Darsi Ferrer in Cuba a “positive development,” and called on Havana to take more steps toward full respect of human rights.

A physician-turned-opposition activist in 1999, Ferrer, 40, was freed on parole Tuesday after serving 11 of his 15 month jail sentence for illegally purchasing construction materials — charges his family said were trumped up.

“Ferrer’s release is a positive development, although he should never have been arrested or imprisoned for 11 months,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement.

“We hope that the Cuban government will continue to take measures demonstrating the increased respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba,” Crowley added.

Jailed several times for heading protest movements, Ferrer in April went on a three-week hunger strike to demand a fair trial and medical attention. His cause was taken up by several western nations.

His release follows that of ailing political prisoner Ariel Sigler earlier this month, after an unprecedented dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and Cuban President Raul Castro.

The United States also welcomed Sigler’s release on June 13.

http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cuba/cuba.php?news_id=23728&start=0&category_id=5

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