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3 executed in Cuba for hijack bid

Havana, April 12 (Reuters): Three hijackers who commandeered a Havana ferry last week in the hope of reaching the US were executed yesterday after being convicted of terrorism, the Cuban government said.

The three men were summarily tried and convicted on Tuesday on terrorism charges, and the Supreme Court and Council of State rejected their appeals, an official communique said.

“At dawn today the sentences were carried out,” the government said, referring to the executions of Lorenzo Enrique Copello Castillo, Barbaro Leodan Sevilla Garcia and Jorge Luis Martinez Isaac, accused of being the ringleaders of the group.

The statement did not give the form of execution, but family members told human rights activists they were shot. Cuba generally uses a firing squad.

The ferry, with 50 passengers aboard, was hijacked by eight armed men on April 2.

It ran out of fuel on the way and was towed back to Cuba where the group was captured on April 3, with the hostages freed unharmed.

One of the hijackers had a gun, while the rest were armed with knives.

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