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Spanish Court Rejects Bid to Have Castro Charged in 1961 Prisoner Deaths


A Spanish court has rejected a bid to have Cuban leader Fidel Castro charged in the deaths of nine prisoners in Cuba during the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

The court in Madrid ruled Thursday that Mr. Castro is the Cuban head of state and, therefore, immune from prosecution in Spain.

A Miami-based group called the Committee to Aid Dissidents-2506 filed the lawsuit. Spain allows the prosecution of crimes against humanity even if the alleged offenses occurred outside Spanish territory.

The nine prisoners in Cuba died of asphyxiation as they were being transferred in a sealed truck.

Spain has rejected two other similar claims, most recently in 2005. The dissident group argued that Mr. Castro is no longer head of state because he transferred power to his brother Raul Castro in July of last year.

The 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion was an unsuccessful attempt by U.S.-backed Cuban exiles to overthrow the Castro government.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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