Cuban militant's bond denied
by Loue Gilot
Apr. 12, 2007
Reprinted from El Paso Times
Alleged Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is escorted by U. S. Marshalls and Otero County Sheriff's officers after being denied bond today in U.S. Federal Courthouse in El Paso. (Ruben R. Ramirez / El Paso Times)
Alleged Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles was brought to El Paso today to sign his bond -- a first step toward freedom -- but instead he learned that the government obtained a last-minute stay on the bond and he was returned to jail in shackles.
Posada, 79, obtained bond last week from U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, who found that he was not a flight risk or a danger to the community because of he was "frail." Judge Cardone turned down motions for a stay and for reconsideration by prosecutors seeking to keep Posada behind bars until his May trial.
But today, prosecutors prevailed when the Fifth Circuit of Appeals in New Orleans granted them an emergency stay.
The government contended that there was a "very real risk that (Posada) will flee if released, and, more specifically that he will flee before any appeal (of the bond release) is resolved," according to court documents.
Posada's lawyers did not comment. They have until Tuesday to respond to the emergency stay.
Posada is being held in the Otero County Detention Facility 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, though 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.
Even if Posada was allowed to post bond, it was unlikely he would have walked free because immigration officials have a hold on him, meaning they could have seized him immediately.
Copyright © 2007 by the El Paso Times and MediaNews Group and/or wire services and suppliers.
Court blocks Posada release
by Jay Weaver and Phil Gunson
Apr. 13, 2007
Reprinted from The Miami Herald
Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles is escorted Thursday by U.S. marshals and Otero County sheriff's officers after posting bond in El Paso, Texas. (Ruben R. Ramirez / AP)
Confronted with his immediate release, the U.S. government Thursday obtained an emergency order to stop Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles from moving to Miami on a bond before his immigration fraud trial in Texas.
A three-judge panel of the appellate court in New Orleans granted the Justice Department's last-minute request after Posada's family posted the balance of a $350,000 bond with the federal court in El Paso. No hearing date on the government's appeal of his bond has been set.
The former CIA operative is accused of lying on his naturalization application about how he sneaked into the country two years ago. Posada faces trial May 11.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez criticized the Bush administration for protecting Posada, as his country's military intelligence agents raided the home of one of Posada's lawyers.
Chávez's statements seemed surreal as Justice Department lawyers turned to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for emergency relief to keep Posada behind bars.
Their move came after U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone had rejected their efforts to reconsider her bond for Posada.
She said in her order a week ago that despite accusations about a violent past, the Cuban-born Posada, "frail" and 79, was not a danger or a flight risk -- noting the current immigration charges involve no violence.
But the Justice Department's counter-terrorism lawyers countered that Cardone erred in her decision.
"Posada Carriles' history demonstrates that there is a very real risk that he will flee if released," wrote Justice Department attorney John F. DePue.
Posada's Miami attorney, Arturo Hernandez, said he will fight for his client's pretrial release, saying the government faces a difficult challenge on appeal to prove Cardone abused her discretion in granting his bond.
"We are going to avail ourselves of every legal remedy to enforce his rights under the court's order," said Hernandez, who must respond to the appeal by Tuesday.
While Posada remains in federal custody, his possible release has sparked condemnation from Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Chávez.
Both consider him a "terrorist" for his decades of militant activities against the Cuban government -- including allegations that he masterminded the bombing of a Cuban jetliner in 1976 that killed 73 people and the string of tourist-site bombings in Havana in 1997 that killed an Italian.
As Chávez ripped the Bush administration for its handling of the Posada affair, Venezuelan military intelligence agents were raiding the Caracas home of Posada's attorney and friend.
Agents searched Joaquin Chaffardet's home for five hours Wednesday night, saying they were looking for weapons and documents, the lawyer's wife, Maria Teresa Rosas, said Thursday.
She accused agents of planting C-4 explosives and potentially compromising documents that were "found" during the search.
Chaffardet was out of the country at the time of the raid, Rosas said, declining to say where he was. Military officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Chávez accused the United States during a televised speech of shielding the jailed Posada from justice, calling him "the father of this continent's terrorists."
Posada, a naturalized Venezuelan, is wanted in both Cuba and Venezuela for allegedly masterminding the 1976 Cubana Airlines bombing off Barbados. Posada denies the charges.
Venezuela requested Posada's extradition nearly two years ago but has yet to receive a response.
The government has called Chaffardet an "accomplice" of Posada, saying it was grossly improper that his testimony during a hearing in Texas helped convince a U.S. judge that Posada could be tortured if returned to Venezuela.
Chaffardet, a Venezuelan, has served as Posada's attorney in the South American country.
He once was a police colleague of Posada, who held a prominent role in Venezuela's secret police in the 1970s.
On the five-year anniversary of a coup that briefly toppled him, Chávez also said Venezuelan soldiers who disagree with his government's socialist orientation should leave the military.
Government opponents accuse Chávez of leading the country toward authoritarianism, while U.S. officials call Chávez a destabilizing influence in Latin America.
Miami Herald special correspondent Phil Gunson reported from Caracas. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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