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Attorney for Hasenfus Hits Access Denial

October 20, 1986|Associated Press

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Eugene Hasenfus' lawyer criticized the Nicaraguan government for denying him access to his client before court proceedings began today against Hasenfus, an American who survived the shooting down of a plane ferrying supplies to contra rebels.

"Hasenfus is in a legally indefensible position because he has been unable to see his attorney or his family before the trial," Enrique Sotelo Borgen, Hasenfus' Nicaraguan attorney, said.

Rodrigo Reyes, justice minister in the leftist Sandinista government, said he would personally present the charge against Hasenfus--violating public order and security--during the proceeding in the Anti-Somocista People's Tribunal.

Supplies for Contras

Hasenfus, 45, of Marinette, Wis., was captured Oct. 6, a day after a C-123 cargo plane was shot down by Sandinista troops.

The cargo plane was ferrying supplies to U.S.-backed contra rebels who are fighting to overthrow Nicaragua's government. U.S. officials have denied statements made by Hasenfus that CIA employees organized the flight.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles A. Redman said the only visit to Hasenfus by a U.S. consular officer took place Oct. 10 and "we don't consider that visit to have been a proper one."

Former U.S. Atty. Gen. Griffin B. Bell volunteered last week to defend Hasenfus, but Nicaraguan law requires that the chief defense lawyer be a Nicaraguan. Bell said he plans to leave for Managua on Thursday.

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