Two hijackers who seized an Eastern Airlines jumbo jet over Florida and forced it to Havana will be tried and sentenced rigorously, the official Cuban newspaper Granma said yesterday, adding that two women arrested with them were being held until their role was known.
The hijackers, identified by Radio Havana as Cuban exiles, were arrested promptly by Cuban security forces when the Lockheed Tristar jet with 177 passengers aboard landed in Havana Friday. It was on a flight from Chicago when two Cuban exiles armed with Molotov cocktails forced the pilot to divert to Havana. The radio said four children were with the two women arrested.
Last September, after a rash of hijackings of U.S. planes by Cuban exiles, Cuba announced that hijackers would face drastic sentences in cuba or be extradited to the United States to face trial there. One day later, two Cuban exiles who hijacked a Delta flight were extradited to the United States where they stood trial and were sentenced to 20 years in jail.
After Friday's hijacking, a U.S. diplomat said here the Cuban government had been advised that Washington was willing to send a plane and U.S. marshals to pick up the hijackers if Havana decided to extradite them. He said the Cubans were cooperative.
The plane returned to Miami Friday.