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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

US hijacker William Potts 'to return from Cuba'


US hijacker William Potts 'to return from Cuba'

William Potts walks with his nephew in Havana on 25 October 2013Potts says he wants to "take care of business" in the US, but will return to Cuba
An American man who hijacked a plane in 1984 and forced it to fly to Cuba says he will return to the US on Wednesday.
William Potts commandeered a commercial flight from New Jersey to Florida with 56 passengers aboard.
Potts, 56, a member of the the militant African-American Black Panthers, expected the Cuban government to give him guerrilla training.
Instead, Cuba jailed him for 13 years for piracy. He later settled in Havana but is now keen to return to the US.
Uncertain future
He says he is seeking "closure" by facing the US justice system, which he hopes will be lenient.
"I'm ready for whatever. My position is, of course, I did the crime and I did the time, and the United States has to recognise that," he told the Associated Press news agency.
William Potts greets friends in Havana on 25 October 2013Potts (standing shaking hands) says he is entitled to a fresh start
Potts has been in contact with US diplomats in Havana, who, he said, had told him that he could leave on a charter flight to Miami on Wednesday.
He said he expected to he handed over to US marshals upon his arrival in Florida.
"What happens after that I couldn't tell you," he said.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, dozens of US planes were hijacked to Cuba as the Cold War with the then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro intensified. But by the 1980s such incidents had become less frequent and Cuba swiftly convicted Potts.
Potts remained in Havana after his release, where he married and had two daughters. His daughters now live in the United States and Potts has tried to return to his homeland for a number of years.
"Having completed my sentence, I feel like I want to put all that stuff behind me. I don't want that linger over or impeding anything I might want to do. Once you've paid your debt to society, you're entitled to a fresh start," he said speaking last month.
But Potts says he does not intend to settle in the US: "Just as soon as I finish taking care of this business in the United States, I certainly have every intention of returning to Cuba to live."