U.S. appeals dismissal of case against Cuban militant Posada
by Alicia A. Caldwell
EL PASO, Texas: Prosecutors have appealed a federal judge's decision to dismiss an immigration fraud case against anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles.
The aging militant is wanted in Venezuela, where he is a naturalized citizen, on charges that he plotted the deadly 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner from Caracas.
Prosecutors filed the 73-page appeal Monday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The case against the former CIA operative and U.S. Army soldier was dismissed in May after U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso concluded that federal authorities used trickery, fraud and deceit in trying to pursue a criminal case against Posada. He was accused of lying on an application and during an interview to become a naturalized citizen.
Cardone also concluded that a translation of the interview "is so inaccurate as to render it unreliable as evidence of defendant's actual statements." Cardone said the government's actions were "so grossly shocking and so outrageous to violate the universal sense of justice."
Lawyers for the government argued in their appeal that Posada didn't meet his burden to prove that the government engaged trickery or deceit.
They also contended that Cardone "erred by imposing the extreme sanction of dismissal and by dismissing counts that had no relation to the naturalization interview."
Finally, prosecutors argued that government "deception or outrageous conduct" doesn't excuse Posada's alleged lies.
"The defendant was charged with crimes entirely separate from any activity that the government might have been investigating — making false statements during the naturalization interview itself," prosecutors wrote.
Rhonda A. Anderson, one of Posada's Florida lawyers, said she had received the appeal but had not reviewed the lengthy document.
Posada has been the subject of federal efforts to jail or deport him since he admitted sneaking into the United States from Mexico in 2005.
Though Posada faces a deportation order, he has been living in Miami since the case was dismissed.
An U.S. immigration judge in El Paso has ruled that he cannot be sent to his native Cuba or Venezuela because of the potential that he will be tortured in either country.
His release earlier this year sparked a series of protests around Latin America. The Bush administration has been accused by Cuba and Venezuela of harboring a terrorist.
Prosecutors appeal judge's dismissal of Posada case
by Jay Weaver
Six months after losing a bitter legal battle with a one-time Cold Warrior, the Justice Department has appealed a Texas federal judge's dismissal of immigration fraud charges against Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles.
In May, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone threw out an indictment against Posada, 79, who was charged with lying about how he sneaked into the United States in 2005 during his application for citizenship.
Cardone also tossed out Posada's citizenship interview with immigration authorities, in which he said he crossed the Texas border to enter the country in March 2005. Authorities charged he came by boat from a Mexican island.
In her scathing dismissal in El Paso, the judge condemned the prosecution as a ''pretext'' for gathering alleged terrorist evidence on Posada, a former CIA-trained explosives expert. ''The government's tactics in this case are so grossly shocking and so outrageous as to violate the universal sense of justice,'' Cardone ruled.
In a 64-page brief filed Tuesday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, federal prosecutors said: ``Even if the district court were correct in its determination that the government acted improperly in conducting the interview, it erred in dismissing an indictment based on the defendant's false statements at that interview.''
Freed by Cardone's order in May, Posada returned to Miami, where he is staying at an undisclosed location.
© 2007 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.
DOJ Asks Court to Reinstate Posada Charges
Government Appeal Continues Legal Trek of Storied Cuban Militant
by Jason Ryan
The saga of a former CIA operative, allegedly responsible for engaging in numerous rebel activities against Cuban leader Fidel Castro, continued Tuesday, as the Justice Department filed an appeal to reinstate charges against him that were dismissed earlier this year.
Luis Posada Carriles was indicted in January, not for any militant activities, but for making false statements to immigration agents after he was arrested for allegedly illegally entering the United States in March 2005.
The Justice Department is asking an appeals court to reinstate the indictment of one count of naturalization fraud, and six counts of making false statements.
In May a federal judge dismissed the case against Posada, upholding the defense's claim that audio tapes of his interviews with immigration officials in the case were inaudible, and that there were inaccuracies in some government translations. The judge allowed him to return to Miami under supervised release.
The case is seen as tricky for the U.S. government, since Posada was allegedly trained by the CIA for the United States' failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, and then later became the chief of the Venezuelan secret police's surveillance unit.
Additionally, authorities say Posada spearheaded anti-Castro activities, including the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner flight, which killed 73 passengers onboard.
Posada has also been linked to a hotel bombing plot in Havana in 1997, and an attempt to blow up Castro in Panama in 2000. The former CIA operative was eventually released from a Panamanian jail in 2004 as part of a general amnesty agreement.
The year after his release from Panamanian custody, Posada was arrested by U.S. immigration officials after his alleged illegal entry into the United States in 2005. The case languished in immigration courts, since Posada had applied for political asylum and U.S. citizenship.
The appeal notes that "had this matter gone to trial, the government's evidence would have shown that the defendant obtained a Guatemalan passport, bearing his picture, but a false name, Manuel Enrique Castillo Lopez, shortly after his release from custody."
The appeal also notes that, although he filed for asylum on his Customs and Immigration Services application, Posada used several aliases, "but did not acknowledge using the name Manuel Enrique Castillo Lopez on the Guatemalan passport."
The government's appeal also asserts that Posada "denied ever having a passport from Guatemala."
Posada is a citizen of both Cuba and Venezuela, but U.S. law prevented him from being deported to a location where he could be tortured or face execution.
The summary of the government's argument for appeal notes that the district court judge erred in suppressing all the statements made during his immigration and naturalization proceedings. "The defendant was charged with giving distinct and unambiguously false answers to distinct questions, and the district court found no fault with the translations of these questions and answers."
Arguing that the district court should not have dismissed all the charges against Posada, the government notes, "The defendant who by all accounts, has led an extraordinary and controversial life sought out a benefit from the government, and invoked the requirement for an interview. The defendant ... knew that false statements in an interview might subject him to criminal charges."
Lawyers for Posada will have up to 30 days to file their response. If the case were to be reinstated, Posada could face a maximum prison sentence of 40 years.
Confirmado: La fiscalía de EEUU presentó los argumentos para la apelación en caso Posada Carriles
por Arsenio Paz
De acuerdo con declaraciones del fiscal principal Paul Ahern, la fiscalía norteamericana finalmente presentó en la noche de este lunes los argumentos que sostienen la apelacion del caso de Luis Posada Carriles ante la Corte de Apelaciones de Nueva Orleans (Louisiana).
Ahern es abogado del Departamento de Justicia -sección Contraterrorismo, división de Seguridad Nacional- y confirmó esta noticia al abogado José Pertierra, quien representa al gobierno de Venezuela en el caso de extradición del terrorista Posada Carriles, responsable de la voladura de un avión civil frente a las costas de Barbados, que causó la muerte a 73 personas.
En una conversación vía telefónica, José Pertierra dijo a Cubadebate que el gobierno estadounidense presentó la solicitud formal de apelación el 5 de junio de 2007 y no es hasta anoche, cinco meses después, que entregan los argumentos legales, algo que usualmente se tarda unos 30 días.
"Quiere decir que la misma película continúa", añadió Pertierra: "Seguimos ante el circo legal de enjuiciar a Posada como mentiroso, en vez de atender la solicitud de extradición presentada por Venezuela o juzgarlo por terrorista y asesino, para lo cual Estados Unidos tiene sobradas evidencias".
A partir de ahora la Corte de Apelaciones de Nueva Orleans se tomará todo el tiempo que necesite para dictar una decisión respecto a estos argumentos y, de acuerdo con el representante legal de Venezuela, es imposible especular cuánto demorará para ello. "Hemos visto en el caso de los Cinco cubanos presos en Estados Unidos que la apelación ha tardado años", argumentó.
Dijo que Venezuela va a seguir insistiendo en la necesidad de la extradición del terrorista. "Se ha seguido en El Paso un proceso penal por mentir al rellenar los formularios de inmigración y portar pasaporte falso, algo que nunca debería haberse presentado y mucho menos apelado. Todo el mundo sabe que este hombre es un asesino y debe ser juzgado como tal."
La jueza Kathleen Cardone, de El Paso (Texas), que juzgó al terrorista como mentiroso y emitió su dictamen el 6 de abril de 2007, reconoció que "la decisión de certificar o no a un individuo como terrorista está dentro de la potestad del Ejecutivo (Casa Blanca), no de este tribunal". Y llamó la atención sobre "la mala conducta del gobierno" que quiso quitarse de encima el caso Posada Carriles, "una papa caliente política."
La jueza admitió que, aunque el tribunal lo hubiera condenado por mentiroso, bajo las reglas de la corte solamente estaría un año preso y cuando ella emitió su fallo, ya Posada Carriles había pasado en la cárcel un año y medio.
"Por tanto, aun cuando la fiscalía gane la apelación, Posada quedaría libre. El único sentido que tiene apelar y mantener vivo este caso penal por mentiroso es continuar la misma película: demorar, demorar, demorar", concluyó Pertierra.