AFP

The Cuban government has agreed to release Oscar Elias Biscet and and free another nine prisoners jailed for violent crimes, the Catholic Church said.

Oscar Elias Biscet was arrested during an internationally criticized roundup of regime opponents in 2003.

He had refused Havana’s offer to go into exile in Spain and has been serving a 25-year sentence, but the church said Havana had agreed to let him stay on the communist island after his release.

During his incarceration, Biscet was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 by then-US president George W. Bush.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega told Biscet he would be released “soon,” but declined to provide an exact date, his wife Elsa Morejon said.

“I have been waiting for his freedom for years, I am very excited,” she told AFP.