Court acquits officials involved in terrorists release

Campaign News | Friday, 20 February 2009

A Panamanian court acquitted three former government officials that had been accused of abuse of authority in the release, five years ago, of four terrorists, including the infamous Luis Posada Carriles.

According to Granma news daily, the court in Panama City ruled in favor of Arnulfo Escalona, former Minister of Government and Justice; Carlos Bares, ex National Police Chief; and Javier Tapia, former Deputy Director of the Migration Office.

Panamanian lawyers accused the former officials of alleged abuse of authority for releasing the four terrorists before the presidential pardon was announced.

The pardon granted by former president Mireya Moscoso benefited four notorious terrorists: Luis Posada Carriles, Pedro Remon, Guillermo Novo and Gaspar Jimenez, who were then serving a sentence of eight years for illegal possession of explosives, forgery, and crimes against public safety.

The four criminals were arrested in 2000 after a failed attempt to assassinate former Cuban President Fidel Castro during an Iberoamerican Summit of heads of state and government that was taking place in the Panamanian capital.

Luis Posada Carriles is responsible for a long list of criminal actions that include the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed all 73 people on board.

In 2008, the Supreme Court of Panama revoked the pardons granted by Moscoso saying that they were unconstitutional.

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