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Spanish politician sentenced in Cuban dissident's death

By Patrick Oppmann, CNN
October 15, 2012 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya died in a car crash in July.
Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya died in a car crash in July.
  • Angel Carromero is sentenced to four years in prison
  • He was accused of reckless driving after a July car crash
  • Well-known Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya died in the crash
  • His widow said she didn't believe government accounts that it was an accident

Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- A Spanish politician accused of reckless driving after a car crash that killed two Cuban dissidents was sentenced to four years in prison, Cuban state media said Monday.

Angel Carromero had faced a possible sentence of 10 years after the crash that took the life of well-known Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya in July.

Paya had been one of the more prominent activists to challenge the Cuban government's authority and single-party form of rule.

His death provoked an outpouring of grief in Cuba and abroad, and also questions about how the crash that took his life occurred.

Read more: Dissident Cuban blogger arrested, colleagues say

Paya's widow Ofelia Acevedo said she did not believe the Cuban government's accounts that the crash was an accident.

Controversy over Cuban dissident's death
Cuba: Dissident's death accidental

Instead, Acevedo said she believed Paya had been targeted by the government for his opposition work and that the car he was traveling in had been run off the road.

In a short video released by the Cuban government following the crash, Carromero said the crash took place after he lost control of the car when the terrain he was driving on abruptly changed.

Read more: Cuban dissident dies in car accident

In the video, he asked for the public's help in securing his release from prison in Cuba.

Dissident Harold Cepero was also killed in the crash.

Aron Modig, a Swedish politician who also survived the wreck, said he had no memory of how the crash took place.

Both Modig and Carromero said they traveled to Cuba to assist Paya in his opposition work.

The Spanish Embassy in Cuba did not respond immediately to calls seeking comment on the sentencing.

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