Cuba pardons largest number of prisoners since 2015

Published July 20, 2019, 7:14 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Agence France-Presse

Cuba has pardoned 2,604 prisoners for good conduct, the largest number in four years, official media said on Friday.

A man walks by a mural of the Cuban flag. ( Reuters/ MANILA BULLETIN)
A man walks by a mural of the Cuban flag. ( Reuters/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Those pardoned had all completed at least a third of their sentences and had not been convicted of serious crimes such as murder or rape.

The decision, linked to the new constitution adopted in April, “favors the social reinsertion of people deprived of their liberty,” the official Granma newspaper said.

The names of those due for release has not been made public, nor information on when they will be freed.

It was the first such mass pardon since President Miguel Diaz-Canel assumed office in April 2018 and the most since his predecessor Raul Castro released 3,522 prisoners in 2015 ahead of a visit by Pope Francis.

According to the most recent official figures, published in 2012, Cuba has 57,337 prisoners, against a population of 11 million.

The opposition, dissidents and the Cuban Human Rights Commission, a body that is officially banned but tolerated, say Cuba is holding 120 political prisoners, an accusation the government denies.