A man who spent three months in a Nicaraguan prison after his Contra supply plane was shot down has filed a $135 million damage suit against two men and two companies linked to the Iran-Contra arms deals.
Eugene Hasenfus' federal suit accuses Richard Secord, Albert Hakim and CIA-linked Southern Air Transport and Corporate Air Sevices of misrepresenting the rebel supply mission as a patriotic effort when in fact they were making profits off the deal."Secord and Hakim had a history of profiteering in arms transactions and undertook participation in the Contra assistance effort with the intent of deriving substantial profits for themselves," the suit charges.
The suit was belittled by Secord's Washington attorney Thomas C. Green, who said Thursday that Hasenfus knew the risks of the flights.
"Nobody put a gun to Hasenfus and told him to step on the airplane," Green said. "This is a classic case of a mercenary who knew about the risks and yet chose in his adult mind to go ahead with it."
Hasenfus said that when he was hired in May 1986 he was told the operation would be a first-class operation like Air America during the Vietnam war.
But he said the defendants failed to give the plane adequate defense systems, such as a way to avoid heat-seeking missiles.
"In fact, defendants intentionally refused to supply parachutes to Hasenfus and others, apparently so that there would be no survivors in the event of a crash," charges the suit, filed Tuesday.
Three fellow crewmen aboard the plane died in the crash.
He also said his employers had promised his wife they would take care of his defense after he was shot down in October 1986, but failed to do so.