Freed Cuban dissidents heading for Spain

Havana, Cuba (CNN) — The first group among 52 Cuban political prisoners to be freed is expected to arrive in Spain Tuesday, officials and family members said.

A group of prisoners left the island nation on a commercial flight Monday night, according to the head of Cuba’s independent Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

Prisoner Jose Luis Garcia Paneque was among them, his cousin, Raul Smith Paneque, told CNN from his home in Las Tunas, Cuba.

A Spanish Foreign Ministry spokesman told CNN Monday that the country was expecting to receive seven released dissidents and their family members, but that tally is subject to change.

The arriving Cubans will receive residency permission and working papers, which is not political asylum, the spokesman said. The permission would allow the dissidents to return to Cuba at some point if they wanted.


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