Latin America & Caribbean

Cuba prosecutors seek seven years for Spain's Carromero

Spanish politician Angel Carromero
Image caption Angel Carromero belongs to Spain's centre-right Popular Party

Cuban prosecutors are reported to be seeking a seven-year jail term for Spanish politician Angel Carromero over the death of dissident Oswaldo Paya in a car crash.

Mr Carromero was driving a car that hit a tree along an unpaved stretch of road in eastern Cuba on 22 July.

He and Swedish politician Jens Aron Modig survived but Mr Paya and fellow Cuban activist Harold Cepero died.

Mr Carromero has been in custody since then.

Diplomatic sources told Spanish media that prosecutors were seeking three-and-a-half years for each victim.

Under Cuban law, involuntary manslaughter carries a term of between one and 10 years.

Spanish media report that Mr Carromero's trial could begin in the coming days.

If Mr Carromero is found guilty, the Spanish government is hoping that he will be allowed to serve out his sentence in Spain, El Pais newspaper reported.

Mr Paya's family have questioned the circumstances of the crash, alleging that the vehicle may have been forced off the road.

But on 30 July, Mr Carromero appeared in a pre-recorded video released by the Cuban authorities saying that he had lost control of the car and denying that a second vehicle had been involved in the crash.

Mr Modig, a member of Sweden's Christian Democratic Party, and Mr Angel Carromero, from Spain's centre-right Popular Party, admitted that they had taken some 4,000 euros ($4,900; £3,100) to Cuba to give to Oswaldo Paya and other dissidents, which is illegal in the country.

Mr Modig, who has since returned home, said he was asleep at the time of the crash.

Oswaldo Paya, who was 60, was best known as the founder of the Varela project, a campaign begun in 1998 to gather signatures in support of a referendum on laws guaranteeing civil rights.

The Cuban government described him as an agent of the US who was working to undermine the country's revolution.

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