Court Watch - POSTED: 2009/10/14 16:08
A fugitive who avoided prosecution for more than four decades after hijacking a 1968 Pan American flight to Cuba pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges including kidnapping and aircraft piracy.
Luis Armando Pena Soltren, 66, appeared in Manhattan federal court on charges stemming from his involvement in the hijacking of the flight that left John F. Kennedy International Airport bound for Puerto Rico on Nov. 24, 1968.
Soltren said "not guilty," through a Spanish translator when asked by a federal magistrate judge how he pleaded to the 1968 indictment.
He will be held in jail pending a bail application and his lawyer, James Neuman, told the judge Soltren did not need medical attention.
Soltren, a U.S. citizen who lived in Cuba for 41 years, surrendered to authorities at JFK airport on Sunday, knowing he would be arrested, according to authorities.
Neuman told reporters outside the courtroom he could not yet explain why Soltren had voluntarily come back to the United States.