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14 Oct, 2009 22:28

Sentence for one of Cuban Five reduced

One of the members of the so-called Cuban Five spy ring has been handed a reduced sentence of 22 years instead of his original life term.

50-year-old Antonio Guerrero was convicted of espionage in the US in 2001. His sentence was reduced, as no state secrets were stolen.

The five Cuban intelligence officers were arrested in Miami in 1998. In 2001 three of them were sentenced to life terms.

The Cuban government has lobbied for the release of the five, arguing that they were not spying on the United States so much as trying to ferret out right-wing anti-Castro terrorists determined to hurt Cuba.

Last year a court of appeals discharged sentences for three of them, finding the punishment too harsh because the government had never proved that they had traded in “top secret” intelligence.

The case strained relations between the US and Cuba for more than a decade.

Brian Becker, from the Answer Coalition, an advocacy organization, says the original sentences were outrageously long.

“There is a great deal of injustice in the campaign, and there is a growing chorus not only to reduce the sentence but to set these men free,” Becker said.