Alleged terrorist Luis Posada Carriles may skip El Paso hearing
by Adriana M. Chávez
Apr. 10, 2009
Reprinted from El Paso Times
EL PASO -- Alleged terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is expected to be arraigned next week on federal charges that accuse him of being involved in the 1997 bombings that targeted Cuba's tourists areas.
Posada, 81, a former CIA operative and U.S. Army soldier, is scheduled for arraignment April 17 before U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone.
But his El Paso lawyer, Felipe Millan, said Thursday that he would attempt to have Posada skip next week's hearing.
Posada was indicted Wednesday on 11 counts, including perjury and obstruction of a federal proceeding. The indictment is the first time U.S. authorities have accused Posada of being involved in the bombings.
Trial was set for Aug. 10 in U.S. District Court.
In 2005, Posada was arrested and held at a detention center in El Paso on charges of lying to federal authorities in a bid to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
An immigration judge in El Paso ordered Posada deported but also said he should not be sent to Cuba or Venezuela because of fears that he would be tortured. Posada, who is free on bond, has been living with his family in Florida.
Venezuela and Panama are interested in Posada. Vene zuela sought Posada's extradition in connection with the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. Panama wants him in connection with a plot in 2000 to kill Fidel Castro during Castro's visit to that country.
Posada has denied any wrongdoing.
On Thursday, a group of activists seeking Posada's extradition to Venezuela said they would come to El Paso for Posada's new trial.
Members of the National Committee To Free The Cuban Five, a San Francisco-based organization seeking to free five Cuban nationals who were convicted 10 years ago of spying on the United States, said they would organize pro tests in El Paso during Posada's trial to demand that Posada be sent to Venezuela.
Livio di Celmo, whose brother Fabio di Celmo died during the 1997 bombings in Cuba, said Thursday he and his family have been waiting 12 years for U.S. officials to link Posada to international terrorism. "My family and I will never give up on the hope of obtaining justice," Livio di Celmo said.