HAVANA TIMES — William Potts, an American almost 30 years ago hijacked a commercial airliner and forced to divert to Cuba, returned today to the United States where he was immediately arrested and is expected to be tried by air piracy, reported dpa news.
In March, 1984,Potts, a former Air Force veteran who considered himself a “revolutionary”, hijacked a plane flying from New York to Miami with 57 passengers on board and forced it to land in Cuba.
In interviews over the past years, Potts said he believed that upon his arrival in Havana he would be hailed as a revolutionary and receive military training to start his own uprising against the US government. Instead he was arrested by Cuban agents and sentenced to 15 years prison for air piracy, of which he served 13.
In an interview with CNN, whose correspondent traveled with him on the flight Wednesday that took him to Miami, Potts said he decided to come back because he missed his family, the two daughters he had with a Cuban woman after his release from prison and who reside in the United States. He also said he wants to “apologize” to the crew and passengers of the hijacked plane nearly three decades ago, an act that he has regretted ever since.
“This terrorist act has haunted me ever since,” said Potts, who acknowledged that he knew exactly what to expect in the United States.
Upon arrival at the airport in Miami, Potts, who is now 56, was arrested by FBI agents, and according to local reports, is expected to be brought in the coming hours or tomorrow before a judge.
The question is whether US courts accept as time served Potts 13 years spent in prison in Cuba or opt for a new trial with a full sentence at the end.
Read a recent in Havana Times interview: