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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 18:22 GMT 19:22 UK
Caracas 'to try bombing suspect'
Cuban plotter Luis Posada Carriles in 1985 - his pardon by Panama infuriated Cuba
Luis Posada Carriles denies involvement in the airliner bombing
Venezuela has sought to reassure the US it will not hand over a Cuban exile accused of bombing an airliner to Fidel Castro's regime if he is extradited.

Anti-communist militant Luis Posada Carriles, 77, is being held in the US where he is seeking political asylum.

He is wanted by both Cuba and Venezuela in connection with the 1976 attack which killed 73 people.

US officials said they do not turn over those suspected of crimes to any regime that would hand them over to Cuba.

Venezuelan Vice-President Jose Vicente Rangel described the US position as "an excuse, a subterfuge, that they are using precisely in order to not approve the extradition".

He insisted that Mr Posada Carriles would appear before the Venezuelan courts if he was extradited.

"There is no possibility that Venezuela would turn him over to another country if Posada Carriles' extradition to Venezuela is approved," he said.

Interviews

Venezuela has formally applied to the US for the extradition of Cuban-born Mr Posada Carriles, who is a Venezuelan citizen.

He was reportedly smuggled into the US earlier this year.

US immigration authorities seized Mr Posada Carriles after he gave media interviews in Miami.

He denies any involvement in the bombing of the Cuban airliner, which exploded during a flight between Caracas and Havana.

The US homeland security department said it was examining his immigration status.

On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of Cubans marched in Havana to urge the US to hand him over.

Mr Posada Carriles has been linked to a series of attacks on Cuban interests over the last four decades.

He was released from prison in Panama last year after he was granted a presidential pardon over an alleged plot to kill President Castro in 2000.

Recently declassified documents show Mr Posada Carriles used to work for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Scenes from the march



SEE ALSO:
Cuban 'bomber' arrested in US
17 May 05 |  Americas
Profile: Cuban 'plane bomber'
18 May 05 |  Americas
Cuba 'bomber' sought by Venezuela
14 May 05 |  Americas
Cuba 'plane bomber' was CIA agent
11 May 05 |  Americas
US 'not aiding bomb-plot Cuban'
04 May 05 |  Americas
'Bomb-plot' Cuban seeks US asylum
13 Apr 05 |  Americas
Panama pardons Castro 'plotters'
26 Aug 04 |  Americas


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