Cuba to pardon nearly 3,000 prisoners | Pakistan Today

Cuba to pardon nearly 3,000 prisoners

Cuban President Raul Castro has unveiled plans to pardon some 3,000 prisoners for “humanitarian reasons,” a group amnesty of unprecedented size, and “gradually” reform onerous laws restricting foreign travel. The pardons include 86 foreign nationals from 25 countries, and will take place “in the coming days,” Castro said in a closing address to the National Assembly Friday.
However US contractor Alan Gross, jailed in Cuba for espionage, will not be among those released, top foreign ministry official Josefina Vidal said. Gross – a State Department contractor arrested in December 2009 for delivering laptops and communications gear to Cuba’s small Jewish community – “will not be on the list” of foreigners to be pardoned, the official said.
Castro said factors that played into the pardon decision included requests from the Catholic Church and various Protestant churches, and the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. The pardon is the largest ever under the communist regime, much larger that the 299 prisoners released ahead of the visit of the late pope John Paul II in January 1998.

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