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Cuban Abuse Trial May Resume At End Of Month

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE trial to determine if Cuban detainees were abused at the Carmichael Road detention centre last year has been tentatively set to resume at the end of the month, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell told The Tribune yesterday.

He said: “I spoke to the Foreign Minister of Cuba and told him that my understanding is there has been an adjourned date. We are in the process of having it advanced for the end of July. The letters were sent and we are awaiting an answer to them and the legalities for the two sides.”

The trial to determine if Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) marines abused Cuban detainees at the detention centre began last November. It has been postponed since early December. Officials have been trying to cross-examine Yordan Canter and Alexander Vazcuez, two of three Cuban nationals who claimed to have been beaten at the facility.

The men are expected to come to the Bahamas to be cross-examined. The third Cuban, Carlos Pupo, gave testimony in trial last year.

Last September, Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage appointed retired Justice Cheryl Albury, Bahamas Christian Council President Rev Dr Ranford Patterson and former RBDF Commander Leon Smith to observe the closed hearing.

His decision came after the Democracy Group, a Cuban-exiles movement, criticised the Bahamas government for allegedly ignoring human rights abuse that took place at the Detention Centre.

Attorney Wayne Munroe is representing the marines accused of abusing the detainees.

Mr Mitchell said yesterday that he is confident the trial will continue when expected. In his experience, he said, “once the (Cuban government) commit themselves to a course of action, they stick to their word.”

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