Supporters of a group of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba last year hoped for releases after 13 of the inmates were suddenly moved to Havana from prisons around Cuba.
Cuban authorities have transferred 13 imprisoned dissidents, journalist-poet Raúl Rivero among them, from facilities around the island to Havana, a move the opposition hopes signals their imminent release.
All were part of the ‘‘Group of 75,’’ peaceful dissidents who were sentenced to up to 28 years in prison after summary trials in the spring of 2003.
The prisoners were told Friday that they would be transferred to Havana for medical checkups, a procedure usually undertaken prior to release, said Elizardo Sánchez of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.
Among the transferees is Raúl Rivero, who was serving a 20-year sentence at Canaletas, 280 miles from Havana, when he was taken to the hospital at Combinado del Este prison complex in Havana, his wife, Blanca Reyes, told EFE.
‘‘They called me from State Security and told me that Raúl is fine, he is being given a medical checkup in the hospital of the Combinado del Este’’ prison, Reyes said. She added that she has been promised she will be able to visit him.
‘I think it could be a step toward the prisoners’ release, but if it’s a fresh game by the government, it would be very painful,’’ said Reyes, convinced Rivero’s transfer is related to the Cuban government’s decision to resume official contact with the Spanish government, which has pressed for for the release of the dissidents.
In an interview by Radio Martí, Laura Pollán, wife of imprisoned Cuban dissident Hector Maseda, said that in addition to Rivero, others believed transferred were Jose Ubaldo Izquierdo, Hector Raúl del Valle, Efren Fernández Fernández, Jose Miguel Martínez, Jesús Mustafá Felipe, Omar Ruiz Hernández, Pablo Pacheco Avila, Blas Giraldo Reyes and Pedro Argüeyes Morán, Antonio Villarreal and Margarito Broche.
El Nuevo Herald also reported that Jose Luis Rodríguez Tanquero was part of the group.
Pollán said, “At this moment, all of us wives are in a state of uncertainty, of anxiety.’‘
Special correspondent Renato Perez contributed to this report.