Spaniard jailed in Cuba flies home to finish term

AP News
Posted: Dec 29, 2012 9:06 AM

MADRID (AP) — A Spaniard sentenced in Cuba to prison for the death of a prominent dissident arrived back in Spain on Saturday to serve the rest of his four-year term after an agreement between the two governments.

Angel Carromero Barrios, a Spanish regional political youth leader, lost control of his car and crashed on July 22, killing passengers Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero. Paya was a well-known opponent of the Cuban government and Cepero was also a dissident.

Carromero flew into Madrid's Barajas international airport with a police escort alongside Miguel Vives, another Spanish citizen sentenced to 18 years prison in Cuba for drug trafficking.

The governments of Cuba and Spain applied a bilateral accord dating from 1998 which allows for the enforcement of each other's criminal judgments.

A spokesman for Spanish penitentiaries said Carromero was taken into custody on arrival and would be driven to Segovia jail, 110 kilometers (68 miles) northwest of Madrid to serve the remainder of his sentence. He spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with Interior Ministry rules.

Aron Modig, a Swede who was also riding in the car at the time of the crash and who, along with Carromero, was accused by Granma of getting involved in political activities while visiting Cuba on tourist visas, said he was relieved that his Spanish colleague had returned to Spain.

"It feels wonderful of course," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Saturday. "I hope he gets as mild (treatment) as possible."

Modig, who has said he was asleep when the car crashed and who was not able to explain how the vehicle swerved off the road, said his mind remained blank and that he still doesn't have any recollections of the incident.

"No, I don't. I'm sleeping when the crash occurs so I go from a sleeping state into being unconscious for about half an hour. I wake up in the ambulance."

Ofelia Acevedo, Paya's widow, has said she does not believe the Cuban government investigators' account of the accident, saying she hoped Carromero would be able to tell the truth once on Spanish soil.


Associated Press writer Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm, Sweden, contributed to this report.