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Cuba Commutes Death Sentence of American

The death sentence of a Cuban-American was commuted by Cuba's Supreme Court on Tuesday, according to a veteran human rights activist.

Humberto Eladio Real was instead sentenced to 30 years in prison, according to Elizardo Sánchez, head of the independent Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation. Eladio Real was the last person remaining on death row in the island nation, Sanchez said.

On Oct. 15, 1994, Real and six other members of a Florida-based exile group came ashore in northern Cuba, armed with assault rifles and other weapons. A man was killed, and the group was captured shortly thereafter.

Real received the death penalty, and the others got lengthy prison sentences.

Havana officials have said the group intended to carry out acts of sabotage and attacks on military units to destabilize the government of then-President Fidel Castro.

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Cuba's constitution allows the death penalty, but for years the country has effectively had a moratorium on carrying out death sentences.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences against two El Salvador men convicted for their roles in a deadly bombing campaign on tourist sites in the 1990s. Ernesto Cruz León and Otto Rodríguez were given 30-year prison sentences instead, leaving Real as the sole convict on death row in Cuba.

Human rights activist Sánchez hailed Tuesday's decision, adding "we regret that the (death) penalty remains on our penal code."

Based on reporting by Associated Press writers Andrea Rodriguez and Jenny Barchfield.

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