Judge dismisses Posada's bid to be freed
Campaign News | Thursday, 22 February 2007
Terrorist denied habeus corpus
EL PASO, Texas - A federal judge on Wednesday denied a request by an anti-Fidel Castro activist to be released from jail while immigration officials figure out where to deport him.
U.S. District Judge Philip R. Martinez threw out Luis Posada Carriles' lawsuit after federal prosecutors said immigration officials could not release him because he is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Posada, an ex-CIA operative who is suspected of bombing a Cuban jet 31 years ago, left Department of Homeland Security custody after his indictment last month on suspicion of lying in a citizenship application.
Posada, 79, was arrested two years ago on an immigration violation after he reported paying a smuggler to sneak him into Texas from Mexico.
An immigration judge later ordered that Posada be deported but ruled that he could not be sent to Cuba, where he was born, or Venezuela, where he is a naturalized citizen.
Several countries, including Mexico, have declined to allow Posada in. He sued last year, arguing that the U.S. government cannot hold him indefinitely while they look for a country willing to let him move there.
Governments of both countries want Posada sent to Venezuela to stand trial on charges that he was in Caracas when he plotted the deadly 1976 bombing.
Posada, who had a role in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, has denied any wrongdoing.
Cuban bomb suspect faces US trial
An anti-Castro Cuban militant is to face trial in the US in May, charged with lying to immigration officials.
Luis Posada Carriles has been held in an immigration detention centre in Texas since 2005 after crossing the border illegally from Mexico.
Both Venezuela and Cuba want to put Mr Posada on trial for allegedly masterminding the bombing of a Cuban jetliner in 1976 that killed 73 people.
A US judge has ruled that Mr Posada can not be deported to Cuba or Venezuela.
Mr Posada is accused of fraud and making false statements on an application for US citizenship he made after he arrived in the country in 2005.
According to court documents, Mr Posada said he was smuggled into the US by land, but an investigation found he actually arrived by boat.
Last month, the Cuban foreign ministry described the immigration charges as a legal pretext to avoid having Mr Posada tried on murder and terrorism charges.
The former CIA operative, now 78, came to the US after serving time in Panama for plotting to kill Cuban President Fidel Castro at a regional summit there in 2002.
He faced deportation from the US, but a judge ruled he could not be deported to Cuba or Venezuela over fears he might be tortured.
No other country was willing to accept him.
Venezuela wants to try Mr Posada - who was born in Cuba but has Venezuelan citizenship - in connection with the bombing of the plane, which was flying to Cuba from Caracas.
The Cuban plane exploded over Barbados in 1976, killing all 73 people on board - including Cuba's entire fencing team.
He has denied involvement in the plane bombing.
He escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while awaiting a trial on appeal.
Both Venezuela and Cuba have accused the US government of harbouring a man they regard as a terrorist.