Appeals court rules Posada should be freed on bond
by Louie Gilot
Apr. 18, 2007
Reprinted from El Paso Times
The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals renewed Luis Posada Carriles' hopes that he could be released on bond when it ruled Tuesday to deny the prosecutors' appeal of the bond, court documents and Posada's Florida lawyers said.
Posada, 79, an alleged Cuban terrorist, was allowed a $250,000 bond April 6 in El Paso by U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone.
But as Posada was about to finalize his bond last week, the government was granted an emergency stay on the bond by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Posada's lawyer had a few days to respond to the stay before the court made a final decision.
Posada, whose lawyers declined to comment, could technically be released until his trial date in May, but he also has an immigration hold against him. It means that immigration officials could seize him as soon as he is released.
Posada is being held at the Otero County Detention Center in Chaparral, N.M., on charges of naturalization fraud and making false statements on his application for citizenship.
He allegedly said he entered the United States illegally through Brownsville, Texas, although he entered the country by sea in 2005.
Immigration officials cannot deport him because an immigration judge ruled he would be tortured in Cuba or Venezuela and because they cannot find a third country to take him in.
Posada, a former CIA operative, is wanted in Venezuela for allegedly masterminding the deadly bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976. He denies any involvement.
Copyright © 2007 by the El Paso Times and MediaNews Group
Government can't hold Posada until trial
Cuban militant has been jailed for two years
by Alicia A. Caldwell
Apr. 18, 2007
Reprinted from Associated Press
EL PASO — An appeals court on Tuesday denied the U.S. government's latest bid to keep anti-Castro Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles jailed until his May trial on immigration fraud charges.
The decision by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed a decision last week to temporarily block Posada from being released from the Otero County, N.M., jail on $250,000 bail.
Prosecutors won the temporary victory last week after appealing a judge's order setting Posada free.
Rhonda Anderson, one of Posada's Florida lawyers, said it is unclear when Posada, 79, could be set free. Immigration authorities could detain him on a previous deportation order.
The aging militant and former CIA operative was ordered deported in 2005. But a federal immigration judge in El Paso ruled that he could not be sent to Venezuela, where he is a naturalized citizen, or his native Cuba, because of fears that he could be tortured.
Governments of both countries want Posada extradited to Venezuela to face charges that he was in the capital of Caracas when he plotted the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner, an attack that killed 73 people.
Posada, who was also a U.S. Army soldier and had a role in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, had been fighting in federal court to force immigration authorities to remove him from the country or set him free pending his ordered deportation. Several countries, including Mexico and Canada, have denied Posada entry.
Posada has been jailed in the United States since May 2005, when he admitted sneaking into the country illegally from Mexico.
At the time, he said he crossed the border into Texas in a vehicle. But federal authorities claim that he arrived in the U.S. aboard a boat.
He was indicted in January on charges that he lied about how he entered the country and other details while trying to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Jose Pertierra, a Washington- based lawyer for the Venezuelan government, said Tuesday's decision was not unexpected.
"I'm not surprised that a judge trying someone on essentially lying . . . would give him bond," Pertierra said.
A federal magistrate in El Paso dismissed Posada's lawsuit seeking his freedom or deportation after he was arrested on the immigration fraud case and transferred to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Posada closer to moving to Miami
by Jay Weaver
Apr. 18, 2007
Reprinted from The Miami Herald
Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles scored another legal victory Tuesday that would allow him to move to Miami to wait for his criminal trial in Texas -- unless immigration authorities prevent his release at the last minute.
An appellate court in New Orleans rejected the Justice Department's request to stop Posada's supervised release on a $350,000 bond as he awaits trial on immigration fraud charges next month.
For the 79-year-old former CIA operative, the court's ruling boosted his chances to be reunited with his wife under 24-hour confinement at her home in Miami, where numerous Cuban exile supporters have advocated the release of the controversial anti-Castro figure.
''We're gratified to know the legal system works,'' said Posada's Miami attorney, Arturo Hernandez, who plans to fly to El Paso today to finalize Posada's bond in federal court. ``The court of appeals heard both sides of the argument, and we're pleased that they ruled in our favor. We feel that justice was done.''
Justice Department lawyers, who appealed an April 6 ruling by U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone that granted Posada bond, argued that she made a ''clear error'' when she found he was not a danger or a flight risk. They cited decades of violent activities, including Posada's suspected lead role in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73 people.
But in a 2-1 vote Tuesday, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its prior emergency order blocking Posada's release -- clearing the way for his pretrial move to Miami.
At this critical juncture, it appears that only the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement could stop Posada's release. Authorities have two days from the time Posada finalizes his bond to enforce an immigration detainer on him. It has been in effect since the Cuban-born Posada was arrested by federal agents in May 2005 after entering the country illegally.
''We're aware of the ruling, and we'll take appropriate actions,'' said ICE spokesman Marc Raimondi, without disclosing the government's next move.
TRIAL IN MAY
If authorities don't enforce the detainer, Posada could be released and stay in Miami with his wife until the May 11 trial in El Paso. He is charged with lying at a naturalization hearing and on an official application about how he entered the country. Posada claims he crossed the Mexico-Texas border, but authorities charge that he came to Miami by boat from Mexico.
While Posada remains in federal custody, his possible release has sparked condemnation from Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Both have called him a ''terrorist'' for his militant activities against Cuba's government.
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