By Associated Press - Thursday, October 4, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - A State Department spokeswoman says the U.S. is “gravely concerned” about the health of a dissident in Cuba who has reportedly been on a lengthy hunger strike to protest his imprisonment.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert says on Thursday U.S. officials have been told that Tomas Nunez Magdariaga (toh-MAHS’ NOON’-yez mahg-dah-ree-AH’-gah) is in critical condition after being on hunger strike for more than 50 days. She called for his release, saying his “life hangs in the balance.”

The 65-year-old Nunez is a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, one of the country’s largest dissident groups.

Patriotic Union leader Jose Daniel Ferrer says Nunez was sentenced to a year for making threats immediately after his release from a 10-month prison term reportedly for unpaid fines.

The Cuban government had no immediate comment.

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