Cuba criticises sentences on assassins
Campaign News | Wednesday, 21 April 2004
Posada Carriles should have been extradited
April 21: The Cuban government has criticised as too lenient sentences imposed on six men convicted of trying to assassinate Fidel Castro.
A Panama court sentenced them to terms of four to eight years in jail.
The five Cubans and one Panamanian were found guilty of threatening public security and falsifying documents.
The men were arrested in Panama in November 2000, after they were involved in a plot to kill him at a summit there.
The Panamanian courts later ruled there was not enough evidence to accuse the men of attempted murder.
Explosives were found in Posada Carriles's car, but the anti-Castro terrorists denied plotting to kill Fidel.
The defendants claimed they were in Panama to help a Cuban general who supposedly had planned to seek political asylum.
Cuba had tried to extradite four of the Cuban exiles, including the alleged ringleader, Luis Posada Carriles, who has been wanted by Havana for many years.
He is accused of a string of offences, including an attack on a Cuban passenger plane which crashed off the coast of Barbados in 1976.
"The penalties imposed do not correspond to the gravity of the acts committed in the Republic of Panama," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the verdicts.
The court sentenced Mr Posada and the Cuban-American Gaspar Jimenez to eight years.
Three other Cubans got seven years and Mr Posada's Panamanian driver was sentenced to four years.
Full statement from the Cuban Foreign Ministry: