Men Involved In Posada Carriles Trial Granted Bond
Feb. 7, 2007
Reprinted from AP
(AP) EL PASO, TX Two men charged with refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles, who was arrested in Miami, pleaded not guilty and were granted bond Tuesday.
During a brief hearing, a federal judge in El Paso ruled that Osvaldo Mitat could be released on a $20,000 signature bond that does not require any money down. The judge granted Santiago Alvarez, Mitat's employer, a $100,000 bond that required him to post a 10 percent cash deposit.
Both men are serving federal prison sentences for unrelated weapons convictions, and Magistrate Judge Norbert J. Garney said their bonds could only become effective once they are released from those sentences.
Lawyers and the judge involved in the case have said it's still unclear how much prison time the two men could face for refusing to testify.
Alvarez and Mitat are accused of refusing to testify before the grand jury that investigated allegations that Posada lied in his bid to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Gary Weiser, an El Paso lawyer representing both men, declined to comment.
According to the indictment against Posada, Mitat and Alvarez were among a group of men who brought Posada into the U.S. aboard a boat in 2005. Posada, a 78-year-old former CIA operative and U.S. Army soldier, said he paid an unidentified smuggler to sneak him across the border near Brownsville.
Posada has been jailed since May 2005, and the governments of Venezuela and Cuba want him extradited to Venezuela, where he stands accused of plotting the deadly 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner. A judge wouldn't allow that because of the potential that he could be tortured, and several other countries wouldn't take him.
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