Anti-Cuban terrorists await sentencing in Panama

Campaign News | Friday, 19 March 2004

Verdict expected within 30 days

March 19: The trial in Panama of four Miami terrorists, who plotted to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro, concluded Thursday with general certainty of the accused guilt and expectation they will receive the maximum penalty.

Terrorists of Cuban-origin Luis Posada Carriles, Pedro Crispin Remon, Guillermo Novo Sampol, and Gaspar Jimenez Escobero, along with Panamanian Jose Manuel Hurtado Vivero, are accused of planning to blow-up the University of Panama auditorium when more than a thousand students gathered to hear the visiting Cuban leader in November 2000.

Prosecutor Arquimedes Saenz has asked for the maximum penalty on the charges, which for legal technicalities have been reduced to introducing 33 pounds of plastic C-4 explosive from Costa Rica into Panama, illegal association to commit crimes, threatening public security and, for some, entering the country with false documents.

According to Panamanian law, the Miami terrorists can be sentenced to between 10 and 20 years in prison.

Judge Jose Hoo Justiniani, who will give his decision within 30 days, appeared at times patently impatient with extraneous arguments by the defense and defense lawyer Roger Cruz? failure to address the 43 volumes of evidence against the accused.

In a meeting between Panamanian Attorney General Jose Antonio Sossa and families of victims of past terrorist acts by the accused, the attorney general remarked that the accused endangered, not only these victims, but the lives and safety of many people whom the Panamanian State is obligated to safeguard, Cuban daily Granma reported on Friday

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