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Charges dismissed in Cuban sealift

A panel of federal judges dismissed all criminal charges against 336 persons accused of illegally ferrying thousands of Cubans to US shores in last spring's sealift. The 12-judge panel voted 11 to 1 to dismiss the indictments against boat owners, boat operators, and crew members who were charged with bringing undocumented aliens into the United States. The majority opinion, written by US District Judge Eugene Spellman of Miami, said: "The imposition of criminal penalties on those who merely aid aliens in lawfully seeking to apply to this country for political asylum would make a mockery of the often-quoted words of invitation inscribed on the Statue of Liberty."

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