Spanish Politico to Trial in Cuba on Oct. 5

Angel Carromero.

HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Spanish politician Angel Carromero is to go on trial October 5 in Cuba in connection with the traffic accident that took the lives of dissident leader Oswaldo Paya and a second Cuban dissident.

Cuban authorities on Monday announced the trial date.

Carromero, 27, a member of Spain’s ruling People’s Party, faces two counts of negligent homicide, and the public prosecutor is seeking a seven-year prison term, the pro-government website Cubadebate reported.

The trial is set to take place in Bayamo in the eastern Cuban province of Granma.

Carromero was driving the car when it crashed into a tree on July 22 near Bayamo.

Payo and fellow dissident Harold Cepero died, while Carromero and Swedish politician Jens Aron Modig suffered minor injuries. Paya, 60, and Cepero had been riding in the back seat and were not wearing seat belts.

Oswaldo Paya

The official investigation showed “categorically” that Carromero was speeding at the time of the crash on a stretch of road that was being repaired, Cuban authorities said shortly after the accident.

Carromero’s “lack of attention to the vehicle, the speeding and the incorrect decision to brake abruptly on a slippery surface” caused the crash, authorities concluded. They noted that “a logical analysis of the duration of the trip” indicated an average speed above the legal limit.

Cuba is well known for the poor condition of its roads.

Carromero was discharged from a hospital within a day, and has since been held by Cuban authorities.

Cuban dissidents and Paya’s family had expressed doubts about the nature of the accident and voiced suspicions of foul play. Both Carromero and Modig, however, said in Cuba that it was just an accident with no other vehicles involved

As head of the dissident Christian Liberation Movement, Paya waged a long-running campaign of legal initiatives to reform communist Cuba. He was nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize and in 2002 was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought.