Puerto Rico militant being freed from custody after 36 years

Puerto Rico militant being freed from custody after 36 years

Puerto Rico militant being freed from custody after 36 years

Lopez Rivera was a member of the leftist group FALN that claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings across New York, Chicago and Washington, as well as in Puerto Rico in the 1970s and early '80s.

After Obama's order, Lopez Rivera was released from prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, and arrived in Puerto Rico to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.

Puerto Rico nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera has been freed from house arrest after decades in custody.

Supporters of a Puerto Rican nationalist freed from house arrest this week after decades in USA prisons planned Thursday to welcome him back to his former hometown of Chicago, where a procession was planned and a street sign bearing his name would be unveiled. Some chanted:"Free at last!" He is expected to be recognized in Chicago this week and honored by his supporters in NY with a parade on Puerto Rican Day June 11, the AP said. After fighting in the Vietnam War, he returned to Chicago and joined the Puerto Rican independence movement in 1976, teleSUR noted.

According to the feds, Rivera was an instrumental figure of the group that was responsible for more than 100 bombings - including the January 1975 blast at Fraunces Tavern that killed four and injured dozens.

He was arrested and charged with "seditious conspiracy" for his role in FALN activities in 1981 and sentenced to 55 years in prison.

"Hamilton" star Lin-Manuel Miranda, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and others applauded Rivera's release and the man's commitment to Puerto Rican independence while those who suffered from the actions of FALN express bafflement and outrage. Lopez Rivera received an additional 15 years on his sentence over an escape attempt.

Lopez Rivera spent 36 years in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the USA government.

In 1999, US President Bill Clinton offered Lopez clemency, but he rejected the offer because it excluded two associates who have since been released. Then in 2011, the U.S. Parole Commission denied his request for an early release. That request was denied, and Lopez Rivera was eventually sentenced to 55 years in prison - a sentence nearly 20 times longer than those handed down for similar offences.

The U.S. territory is now mired in a decadelong recession for which many blame the U.S. government, partly because of the elimination of tax credits that many say led to the collapse of the island's manufacturing sector.

He has been staying with his daughter at her home in the capital of San Juan.

"We have had plenty of exercises yet the status of Puerto Rico has not changed", he said.

"We have to thank him for giving his life for our island", Nelson Cortes, a New York-based waiter who supports Puerto Rican independence, told the Associated Press news agency.

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