Ivan Pilip and Jan Bubenik return home

07-02-2001

A crowd cheers the return of Ivan Pilip and Jan Bubenik, two Czechs who spent three weeks in jail in Cuba after meeting dissidents opposed to the Castro regime. Dita Asieduova has more:

As Mr Pilip told journalists, they were both relieved and surprised to be back home: "Up to the very end, we didn't know what to expect. We could have been imprisoned for days, months or even years". He added that neither he nor Mr Bubenik believed they had broken Cuban laws by visiting Cuban citizens and bringing them pens, medicine, and a computer as presents. He noted, however, that they had been warned they could be arrested, but thought at worst they would spend a few days in jail. Despite their ordeal, both men said the risk was worthwhile in the fight against human rights violations. Jan Bubenik and Ivan PilipJan Bubenik and Ivan Pilip

At the time of Mr Pilip and Mr Bubenik's release, the Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman was on an official trip to Sweden. At a press conference, Mr Zeman thanked all those who had helped make their release possible: