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Cuba frees Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian from jail

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Cuba frees Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian from jail


Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian has been freed from more than three years of detention in Cuba, resolving a case that had strained relations between the two countries.

The head of a transport company, Tokmakjian, 74, was convicted on bribery charges and jailed for 15 years in September in what his firm called a “show trial” and a “travesty of justice”.

No immediate reason was given for his release.

Tokmakjian “was welcomed home by his family, friends, and thousands of employees,” said a company statement, which also thanked the Canadian government.

It made no mention of two Canadian aides from the Tokmakjian Group, Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche, who were also convicted and sentenced to 12 and 8 years. They had been under house arrest pending trial and while their convictions were being appealed.

Fourteen Cubans including the former deputy sugar minister and the former director of the state nickel company were also convicted and sentenced to terms ranging from 6 to 20 years.

Throughout the time Tokmakjian was tried in June and sentenced in September, the Canadian government was helping the United States and Cuba by serving as host to secret talks on restoring diplomatic ties.

It was unknown whether Canada’s role had any influence on Tokmakjian’s release.

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