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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
Cuba slams Castro 'killers' rule
Luis Posada Carriles in 1985
Cuba has wanted dissident Luis Posada Carriles for years
The Cuban government has criticised as too lenient sentences imposed on six men convicted of trying to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro.

A Panama court sentenced them to terms of four to eight years in jail.

The five Cubans and one Panamanian were found guilty of threatening public security and falsifying documents.

The men were arrested in Panama in November 2000, after the Cuban leader alleged there was a plot to kill him at a summit there.

Panamanian courts later ruled there was not enough evidence to accuse the men of attempted murder.

Explosives were found in a case, but the anti-Castro activists denied plotting to kill the Cuban leader.

The defendants said they were in Panama to help a Cuban general who supposedly had planned to seek political asylum.

'Gravity of offences'

Cuba had tried to extradite four of the Cuban exiles, including the alleged ringleader, Luis Posada Carriles, who has been wanted by Havana for many years.

He is accused of a string of offences, including an attack on a Cuban passenger plane which crashed off the coast of Barbados in 1976.

"The penalties imposed do not correspond to the gravity of the acts committed in the Republic of Panama," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday's verdicts.

The court sentenced Mr Posada and the Cuban-American Gaspar Jimenez to eight years.

Three other Cubans got seven years and Mr Posada's Panamanian driver was sentenced to four years.

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