Cuban man who hid in belly of plane traveling from Havana to Miami faces final immigration hearing

By Hatzel Vela - Reporter

MIAMI - A final immigration hearing took place Tuesday for the man who risked his life to escape Cuba by stowing away on a flight from Havana to Miami. 

Yunier Garcia's hearing lasted around 3 1/2 hours.

Garcia's attorney, Willy Allen, said his client testified for about 90 minutes. 

Allen is arguing that Garcia could face harsh repercussions if he is returned to Cuba. 

"If he were to be sent back, he would be persecuted because of the way he left Cuba," Allen said. 

It was back on Aug. 16 that Garcia sneaked into the belly of Flight 704 from Havana to Miami.

A ground crew member at Miami International Airport found Garcia while he was unloading luggage. 

Allen says attorneys representing the U.S. government are opposed to Garcia getting asylum, at one point calling him a delinquent who broke the law while pointing out that thousands of Cubans have been deported back to Cuba and have not been jailed, tortured or killed. 

That's not necessarily the case this time around, Allen points out. 

"He has a position or job of trust," Allen said. "He violated that trust. Our expert witness emphasized that for Cuba, that is considered to be treason and that he could be looking at the death penalty."
 

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