Monday, April 14, 2003

Dateline: Cuba

The highlights.....

Cuba Executes Men Charged in Hijacking

HAVANA - Fidel Castro's government sent three men who hijacked a ferry to a firing squad, quickly executing them in a chilling message to anyone else who tries to commandeer a boat or plane to the United States.

The executions at dawn Friday followed a series of hijacking attempts, but also coincided with an islandwide crackdown on dissidents.

A court sentenced the men to death on Tuesday after finding them guilty of "very grave acts of terrorism," said a statement read on state television at midday Friday.

...In Washington, the State Department condemned the hijackings but expressed concern that the cases may have been handled in a summary fashion. A statement said that such proceedings "are the hallmark of a totalitarian dictatorship like Cuba."

....Capital punishment in Cuba is always carried out by firing squad but has been used sparingly in recent years.