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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:28 AM

Amnesty: Cuba releases 3 prisoners of conscience


By PETER ORSI | Associated Press 15 hrs agoEmailShare0PrintHAVANA (AP) Amnesty International said Monday that three Cubans held without charge for 52 days following their arrest at a protest were released last week, hours after the human rights group named them as prisoners of conscience.

The release of the three also came a day after a hunger-striking dissident died, prompting condemnation from island dissidents, rights watchers, the United States and other nations. Amnesty had planned to designate Wilman Villar, 31, a prisoner of conscience but he died in custody before it could.

Ivonne Malleza Galano, Ignacio Martinez Montejo and Isabel Haydee Alvarez were set free Jan. 20 but threatened with "harsh sentences" if they do not stop their anti-government actions, the human rights monitor said in a statement Monday.

It said all three were detained at a Nov. 30 protest in Havana at which Malleza and Martinez held a banner that read "Stop hunger, misery and poverty in Cuba." Alvarez was arrested for objecting when security forces took the other two into custody.

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