Federal prosecutors oppose vene change in torture trial
BY ALFONSO CHARDY
The Eriberto Mederos torture trial should remain in Miami because some
government witnesses are
elderly and should not be forced to travel and because last year's Cuban spy case showed an impartial
jury could be seated here, the federal prosecutor said in a court filing this week.
Mederos recently requested that his trial be moved because he would be
denied a fair jury given
''deeply rooted'' anti-Castro sentiment in the exile community and ''inflammatory'' pretrial media
In a response, Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Tamen wrote that the spy case
-- in which five Cuban
intelligence agents were convicted after a seven-month trial in Miami -- showed a fair jury could be
picked in an emotion-charged environment. Tamen also noted that pretrial coverage in the Mederos
case has not been as intense as in the spy case.
''The government believes it will be possible to select a fair and impartial
jury in Miami-Dade County,''
Tamen also argued that moving the trial would inconvenience government
witnesses who accuse
Mederos of having tortured them with electroshock treatment at the Havana Psychiatric Hospital
between 1968 and 1978.
Mederos has denied that the treatment was torture. He has described it
as a medical procedure
prescribed by doctors.