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Cuban dissident leader free after brief detention
Leader of Cuban opposition group Ladies in White free after detention ahead of pope's visit
By The Associated Press

HAVANA (AP) ' The leader of the Cuban dissident group the Ladies in White has been freed after being detained before a weekly protest march.

Bertha Soler and three dozen supporters of the Ladies in White were taken into custody early Sunday.

About 30 more were detained briefly at the march in Havana when they tried to walk down streets where they don't normally demonstrate. They protest after every Sunday Mass to demand the government free prisoners jailed for politically motivated crimes.

Bertha Soler was seen Monday morning at the house of the late Ladies in White co-founder Laura Pollan.

Cuba considers them common criminals and mercenaries paid by Washington to stir up trouble.

The U.S. State Department criticized the detentions ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's visit March 26-28.

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