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Posted December 05, 2005 by Cubana in Castro's Cuba

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BBC News

Cuba has released a prominent dissident who was among a group of 75 government opponents arrested in April 2003.

Mario Enrique Mayo Hernandez - a 41-year-old journalist who had been jailed for 20 years - was freed for health reasons.

The non-governmental Cuban Commission for Human Rights has welcomed the move, saying it could be “the start of a new round of releases of the dissidents”.

Havana says dissidents are US-backed mercenaries aiming to destabilise Cuba.

Staying ‘alert’

Mr Mayo was released on Thursday in his hometown of Camaguey in central Cuba.

“He was in very bad health,” said Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights.

He said Mr Mayo was suffering high blood pressure, a lung complaint, and psychological problems.

Mr Mayo became the 15th of the 75 dissidents to be released on health grounds since the crackdown two years ago.

“This perhaps could be a wider process. We’ll be alert,” Mr Sanchez said.

The Cuban government did not comment on Mr Mayo’s release.

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