29 July 2010

Paralyzed Cuban political prisoner granted US Visa

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Cuban political prisoner Ariel Sigler, 44, was released from prison last month after a deal between the communist government and the Cuban Roman Catholic Church.

US Visa

Cuban political prisoner Ariel Sigler has arrived in the US after being granted a US Visa.

Sigler served seven years of a 25-year sentence for treason. After his release he applied for and was granted a US Visa and was subsequently given permission to leave the island by Cuban authorities.

He was greeted by a crowd of well-wishes at Miami International Airport after arriving on a charter flight from Cuba.

The former boxer was gaunt and in a wheelchair, as he is paralyzed below the waist. It is unknown how he became paralyzed.

Sigler was among 75 opposition activists arrested in March 2003 and charged with accepting money from the US government to destabilize Castro’s leadership – an allegation denied by those imprisoned as well as US officials.

So far, 20 political prisoners have been released as part of the government's second agreement with the church. Most have moved into exile in Spain with their families.


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