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Cuban leader welcomes agent freed from U.S. jail

English.news.cn   2014-03-01 05:51:12

HAVANA, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Cuban leader Raul Castro Friday welcomed home one of five Cuban intelligence agents who were tried and jailed in the United States on charges of attempted spying and other crimes, the official media reported.

Fernando Gonzalez Llort, who along with the four others came to be known as the "Cuban Five," arrived in Havana to a hero's welcome, after spending more than 15 years behind bars. Apparent victims of the U.S. hostile policy toward Cuba, the five men are considered national heroes.

Castro received Gonzalez at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport, Cuban news agency Prensa Latina reported, adding Gonzalez 's family members were also there.

"Cuban national hero Fernando Gonzalez Llort arrived in the country at midday Friday, after completing a lengthy and unjust sentence in U.S. jails for fighting terrorism," Cuban television said in a brief report.

Gonzalez, 50, was released a day earlier from the Safford Federal Correctional Center in Arizona state, and was handed over to immigration authorities for deportation.

His arrival in Cuba coincided with a great concert scheduled for Saturday night at the University of Havana, in support of the Cuban Five.

Gonzalez is the second member of the group to return to Cuba. Rene Gonzalez, no relation, was given conditional release in 2011 and allowed to return to Havana two years later after renouncing his U.S. citizenship.

The other three men, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino and Antonio Guerrero, are serving 21-year to life sentences respectively on charges of conspiracy and operating as foreign agents on U.S. soil without notifying the U.S. government.

All the five were arrested in Miami, Florida, in 1998, when they were monitoring the activities of extremist anti-Cuban government groups.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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