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Panama top court reverses presidential pardons for 183, including Carriles

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Panama [Panama judiciary official website, in Spanish] has declared unconstitutional 183 pardons issued in 2004 by then-outgoing president Mireya Moscoso [profile, in Spanish]. Among the pardoned had been four Cubans - including Luis Posada Carriles [JURIST news archive] - charged with a 2000 assassination attempt against then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and 87 journalists charged with libel or defamation. The high court judges said Monday that some of the pardons were given before the defendants had actually stood trial. Reuters has more. Prensa has local coverage, in Spanish.

Carriles and three other Cubans were originally sentenced by a Panamanian court to up to eight years in prison for endangering public safety, possession of explosives and conspiracy in connection with a plan to assassinate Castro. In response, the Cuban government severed ties [JURIST report] with Panama. After his pardon, Carriles was arrested in 2005 [JURIST report] for illegally entering the United States. He was released on bail [JURIST report] in April 2007. Cuba criticized Carriles' release, and accused the US of violating international anti-terrorism treaties by dismissing US charges [JURIST reports] against him. The US government has denied Cuban and Venezuelan requests [JURIST report] for Carriles' extradition, citing the UN Convention Against Torture [text] as it claims that Carriles may face torture in Cuba or Venezuela.

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