Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Monday, 12 October 2009 08:10 UK

Arrest in 1968 Cuba hijack case

JFK airport
Luis Armando Pena Soltren was arrested at JFK airport

One of the longest-wanted fugitives from US justice has been arrested in New York, charged with hijacking a US plane to Cuba in 1968, officials say.

Luis Armando Pena Soltren, now 66, was arrested on arrival at New York's John F Kennedy Airport from Cuba, where he has lived for the last 41 years.

Mr Soltren is accused of hijacking a Pan Am flight bound for Puerto Rico.

He arranged his return with US authorities because he wanted to see family, the New York Times reported.

That includes his wife, who lives in either Puerto Rico or Florida, the newspaper reported.

Mr Soltren is scheduled to appear in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday.

The hijack took place on 24 November 1968, one of many instances of US planes being forcibly diverted to Cuba from the US in the 1960s - by leftists wanting to visit Cuba, fugitives seeking asylum, or by those seeking ransom payments.

Mr Soltren's two accomplices, Jose Rafael Rios Cruz and Miguel Castro, were sentenced to jail terms of 15 and 12 years respectively after they were arrested on return to the US in the 1970s.

Federal prosecutor Preet Bharara said in a statement: "As the 1968 charges allege, [Soltren] terrorised dozens of passengers when he and his cohorts wielded pistols and knives to hijack Pan American flight 281."

The three men forced their way into the flight cabin using weapons and ammunition that had been concealed in a bag of nappies, court papers said.

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