US trial begins for anti-Castro militant

[JURIST] The trial [court materials] of anti-Castro Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] began Monday on charges of lying to federal immigration officials that could carry a sentence of up to 60 years in prison. He is charged [Miami Herald report] before the District Court for the Western District of Texas [official website] with two counts of perjury and nine counts of making false statements regarding his involvement in the bombing of tourist attractions in Havana [Washington Post report] in 1997 and the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner [ASN backgrounder]. Declassified documents show that Posada, who has a history [AFP report] of anti-Fidel Castro activism, worked for the CIA [NYT report] between 1965 and 1976. Venezuela and Cuba have sought Posada's extradition under the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation [texts] on charges related to the bombings. Posada denies having any involvement with the airline bombing but has equivocated about his involvement in the Havana bombings.

In January 2009, Venezuela renewed its extradition request [JURIST report] in hopes that the Obama administration would be more open to it. Posada was convicted in Panama for the attempted assassination of Fidel Castro but was pardoned [Miami Herald report]. Citing the UN Convention Against Torture [text], the US has refused to extradite Posada in the past [JURIST report], saying that he cannot be sent to either Venezuela or Cuba because he is likely to be tortured if extradited to either country. Citing Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives], Cuba countered that claim during a November 2008 UN Security Council meeting [press release], saying that while the likelihood of torture in Cuba is speculative, the likelihood of torture in the US is not.

 

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