Justice arrives in Panama

Panamanian officials responsible for releasing terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and his accomplices will be put on trial.

Former Panamanian Justice Minister Arnulfo Escalona and former Police Chief Carlos Bares will finally be tried for abuse of authority for freeing Luis Posada Carriles and three of his accomplices in 2004, after an unconstitutional pardon by former President Mireya Moscoso.

According to the local press, Mercedes De Leon, chief anti-corruption prosecutor, announced that the 12th Penal Court will also charge former deputy director of Immigration, Javier Tapia, for having allowed the illegal liberation on August 26, 2004, before the pardon was published.

Posada, Pedro Crispin Remon, Guillermo Novo Sampoll and Gaspar "Gasparito" Jimenez Escobedo were arrested in Panama on November 17, 2000, when they planned to place a bomb in the amphitheater of the University of Panama where Cuban leader Fidel Castro was scheduled to speak.

The four terrorists were sentenced to eight years in prison, and pardoned months later by Moscoso, after several lobbying efforts by high level US officials and Cuban-American Congress representatives Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, and Illeana Ros-Lehtinen.

Last June, the Panamanian Supreme Court annulled the pardon.

Waiting for the extradition request

The four terrorists currently reside in Miami, Florida, where they live under the protection of the Bush administration. Posada, Remon, Novo Sampoll and Jimenez are old collaborators of the US intelligence services and have participated in numerous terrorist actions oriented by the CIA in its dirty war against Cuba.

Meanwhile, legal advisors of the Panamanian Foreign Ministry have yet to publish their position on the Supreme Court decision that revokes the pardon Moscoso granted the terrorists.

However, the Panamanian government has repeatedly stated its willingness to request the US extradite the four criminals.