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Still No Response From Cuba Over Abuse Hearings Inquest

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Fred Mitchell

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

GOVERNMENT officials are still awaiting a response from the Cuban government to requests to have two Cuban men attend hearings in Nassau, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday.

Though the trial to determine if Defence Force marines abused Cuban detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre last year began in November, the trial has been postponed since early December to give officials a chance to cross-examine Yordan Cantero and Alexander Vazcuez, two of three Cuban nationals who claimed to have been beaten at the facility.

The men were repatriated to Cuba last year while the other Cuban, Carlos Pupo, gave testimony in the trial.

Attorney Wayne Munroe, who is representing the Defence Force marines accused of abusing the Cuban detainees, previously said he does not believe the Cuban government will grant the remaining witnesses permission to travel to the Bahamas for the hearings.

Sources close to the issue, however, yesterday suggested that it was likely the men would be allowed to attend the hearings here.

Mr Munroe has previously stated that if needed, a Bahamian delegation will travel to Cuba to secure testimonies of the Cubans.

Immigration officers, Defence Force marines and medical personnel are among the 23 witnesses who have testified in the trial so far.

In 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 hearing.

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

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