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Three Politicans Freed From Jail

June 29, 2001

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Three city politicians who were imprisoned for their protest of U.S. bombing exercises in Puerto Rico were freed Friday morning after spending 37 days in jail.

State Assemblyman Jose Rivera, 65; Bronx County Democratic Party chairman Roberto Ramirez, 51; and New York City Councilman Adolfo Carrion Jr., 40, walked out of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn shortly before 9 a.m. flashing the ``V″ for victory sign before a tearful reunion with relatives.

Their fellow prisoner, the Rev. Al Sharpton, must remain in prison until Aug. 15.

``Until Rev. Sharpton comes home ... until the United States Navy stops the bombing in Vieques, we will not be free,″ said Ramirez, who spoke for the three.

Rivera, Ramirez and Carrion were sentenced to 40 days for trespassing on Navy property in May in a protest aimed at stopping bombing on the island of Vieques. They were released three days early for good behavior.

Sharpton was given a 90-day sentence because of a prior arrest for civil disobedience.

``We owe a debt of gratitude″ to everyone who supported the Vieques four, Ramirez said. ``We feel the issue of Vieques is paramount.″

Sharpton, Rivera and Ramirez participated in a month-long hunger strike, ingesting no solid food, while in detention. Each lost about 25 pounds.

Carrion, who ended his fast June 4, said the others ate food for the first time Thursday night. Asked how it was, he said, ``It was prison food. It was horrible.″

President Bush announced two weeks ago that bombing exercises on Vieques will be stopped by May 2003.

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