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Venezuela urges US to extradite Cuban sought in plane bombing

June 15, 2007
Reprinted from Caribbean Net News

WASHINGTON, USA (AFP): Venezuela Thursday renewed its extradition request for Cuban anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles, sought in a 1976 plane bombing that killed 73 people.

Reminding Washington how little it has moved on the case, Venezuela sent a diplomatic note reiterating "its request for the immediate detention of Luis Posada Carriles for the purpose of his extradition."

The request was "officially made for the first time on June 15, 2005," the Venezuelan Embassy told the US State Department.

"As of today, the US government has not imposed an extradition detainer against (Posada) nor has it begun the extradition proceedings for his case," the note added.

Posada, 79, was released from prison on May 8 by a Texas judge who dismissed immigration fraud charges leveled against him in May 2005 after he was arrested for allegedly entering the United States illegally.

"Rather than prosecuting the extradition request," the Venezuelan Embassy said, "the United States simply indicted Posada for the minor charge of lying to immigration officials."

US authorities have refused to honor extradition requests from Venezuela and Cuba -- where he is also sought in the 1976 plane bombing -- citing a UN convention banning deportations to countries with a pattern of torture or flagrant human rights abuses.

A former US Central Intelligence Agency agent, Posada is wanted by Havana and Caracas in the downing of a Cuban airliner that left 73 people dead. The plane took off from Caracas and he is accused of plotting the bombing in Venezuela.

Cuba also accuses Posada of planning several assassination attempts against Cuban President Fidel Castro, and of setting off bombs at several Havana hotels in 1997.

He was convicted in Venezuela in 1976 of masterminding the Cuban jet bombing off Barbados, but escaped from prison in 1985.

Posada was also sentenced in Panama to eight years in prison for a 2000 bomb plot to assassinate Castro, but former president Mireya Moscoso pardoned him four years later.

The Cuban-born Venezuelan has not been indicted in the United States for any of the attacks, though a grand jury in New Jersey is reportedly investigating his role in a 1997 Havana hotel bombing that killed an Italian tourist.

Venezuela said in its note that Posada "is a fugitive from justice ... a danger to the community and a flight risk," adding that it was "imperative" that US authorities arrest him "and begin the extradition proceedings immediately."


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