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Last Updated: Friday, 16 February 2007, 05:00 GMT
Cuban bomb suspect faces US trial
Luis Posada Carriles
Venezuela wants to try Mr Posada for a 1976 plane bombing
An anti-Castro Cuban militant is to face trial in the US in May, charged with lying to immigration officials.

Luis Posada Carriles has been held in an immigration detention centre in Texas since 2005 after crossing the border illegally from Mexico.

Both Venezuela and Cuba want to put Mr Posada on trial for allegedly masterminding the bombing of a Cuban jetliner in 1976 that killed 73 people.

A US judge has ruled that Mr Posada can not be deported to Cuba or Venezuela.

Mr Posada is accused of fraud and making false statements on an application for US citizenship he made after he arrived in the country in 2005.

According to court documents, Mr Posada said he was smuggled into the US by land, but an investigation found he actually arrived by boat.

Torture fears

Last month, the Cuban foreign ministry described the immigration charges as a legal pretext to avoid having Mr Posada tried on murder and terrorism charges.

The former CIA operative, now 78, came to the US after serving time in Panama for plotting to kill Cuban President Fidel Castro at a regional summit there in 2002.

He faced deportation from the US, but a judge ruled he could not be deported to Cuba or Venezuela over fears he might be tortured.

No other country was willing to accept him.

Venezuela wants to try Mr Posada - who was born in Cuba but has Venezuelan citizenship - in connection with the bombing of the plane, which was flying to Cuba from Caracas.

The Cuban plane exploded over Barbados in 1976, killing all 73 people on board - including Cuba's entire fencing team.

He has denied involvement in the plane bombing.

He escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while awaiting a trial on appeal.

Both Venezuela and Cuba have accused the US government of harbouring a man they regard as a terrorist.


SEE ALSO
US blocks release of bomb suspect
06 Oct 06 |  Americas
Cuba militant ends US asylum bid
01 Sep 05 |  Americas
'Plane bomber' extradition sought
16 Jun 05 |  Americas
US accused of 'terror hypocrisy'
20 May 05 |  Americas
Cuban bomb suspect charged in US
19 May 05 |  Americas
Profile: Cuban 'plane bomber'
18 May 05 |  Americas

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