President Barack Obama Commutes Oscar López Rivera's Sentence

President Barack Obama Pardons Oscar López Rivera After 36 Years in Prisons

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated that López Rivera had been pardoned. His sentence was actually commuted.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama shortened sentences for 209 people and pardoned 64. Among them: Oscar López Rivera.

MORE: Calls for Oscar López Rivera's Freedom Intensify as President Barack Obama Nears End of Presidency

The Puerto Rican nationalist, who was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in federal prison in 1981 for seditious conspiracy, has been behind bars for almost 36 years, making him among the longing-serving political prisoners in U.S. history.

According to a report from EFE, in the president's final days, he commuted López Rivera's sentence. The 74-year-old independence leader will be freed on May 17. 

In an interview with El Nuevo Dia, upon his release, López Rivera plans to visit with family in Chicago, where he moved from Puerto Rico when he was 14 years old, and then return to the island to continue organizing and fighting for its liberation.

"I'm Pepino ... I want to enjoy Puerto Rico, my family. But I like to work. I have some skills – organizing, helping young people – that I want to share with people,” he told the publication.

PLUS: 8 Reasons the U.S. Should Free Oscar López Rivera

We are overjoyed with the president’s decision and the people who fought to make this happen, and we can’t wait to welcome the Puerto Rican hero home.