Cuba has said it will release more than 3,500 prisoners in a goodwill gesture ahead of a visit by Pope Francis.

According to the BBC, the government in Havana says those to be freed include inmates due for conditional release next year, as well as a number of foreign prisoners.

Those found guilty of crimes against state security will not be eligible, seemingly ruling out several high-profile political prisoners.

The Pope will make a three-day visit to the island next week.

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