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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 05:32 GMT
Cuba sued over death of CIA pilot
By Stephen Gibbs
BBC correspondent in Havana

Cuban President Fidel Castro
The pilot was captured during a failed bid to overthrow Castro
A woman in the US has been awarded more than $80m after suing Cuban President Fidel Castro and his government for allegedly executing her father.

CIA pilot Thomas Pete Ray took part in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow Mr Castro in 1961.

A judge in Miami ruled that he was the victim of an extra-judicial killing.

Cuba did not offer a defence in the trial, heard without a jury. According to American law, Janet Ray will be paid out of Cuban assets frozen in the US.

Speaking after the award was given in her favour, Ms Ray said her intention was to do nothing more than honour her father.

Gunshot wound

The pilot was captured by Cuba shortly after his plane was shot down during the botched invasion by Cuban exiles, backed by the US.

Ray's body, with a gunshot wound to the right temple, remained in a Havana morgue until 1979, when Cuba finally returned it to the US.

Six years later two Cubans came forward to say that the pilot was killed in Mr Castro's military headquarters.

Awarding the damages, Judge Ronald Dresnick said the pilot had been executed.

Payment out of frozen Cuban assets in the US can be a lengthy legal process - but there are successful precedents.

In 2001 three families of Cuban-American pilots whose planes were shot down by Cuba were paid damages totalling $97m.

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