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Latino Daily News

Saturday October 6, 2012

Spaniard Responsible for Cuban Dissidents’ Deaths Regrets “Unfortunate” Accident

Spaniard Responsible for Cuban Dissidents’ Deaths Regrets “Unfortunate” Accident

Photo: Angel Carromero

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Spaniard Angel Carromero expressed his regrets Friday for the “unfortunate” traffic accident in which Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero died, during his trial here on charges of negligent homicide.

The Granma provincial court is trying Carromero for the July 22 accident near Bayamo, located some 750 kilometers (460 miles) east of Havana.

The young Spaniard told the court of his “deep sense of shame for the unfortunate accident” that took the lives of Paya, leader of the opposition Christian Liberation Movement, and Cepero, when he crashed his car into a tree.

“I’m deeply sorry,” Carromero told the court.

Cuban authorities blame the accident on excessive speed and the driver’s failure to heed warning signs about road construction. They say the car was going 120 kph (nearly 75 mph) along a stretch of highway where the speed limit was 60 kph (around 37 mph).

Carromero, the 27-year-old leader of a youth group in Spain’s governing Popular Party, appeared calm during his deposition before the court.

In his testimony he repeated the statement he made during the investigation, that he was driving at a speed of between 80 and 90 kph (50 and 56 mph).

And he again admitted that “unfortunately” he lost control of the car upon entering a stretch of road full of potholes and road work.

After his initial statement, Carromero was interrogated by the prosecutor, who is asking for a seven-year prison sentence, and also by his defense counsel, Dorisbel Rojas Perez.

She insistently questioned witnesses about the visibility of signs warning about road construction and the reasons why those signs were relocated after the accident.

Several witnesses said the signs were moved to preserve the skid marks of Carromero’s car after he entered the stretch covered with gravel.