Tuesday April 10, 2007 10:46 PM
EL PASO, Texas (AP) - A federal judge has denied prosecutors' efforts to keep anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles jailed pending his trial on charges he lied in a bid to become a U.S. citizen.
U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone ruled Friday that Posada, 79, should be released. Prosecutors immediately asked her to delay the order, but she refused the request late Monday.
Posada is wanted in Cuba and Venezuela on charges that he was in Caracas when he plotted the deadly 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner. He also has been ordered deported by a federal immigration judge, though U.S. authorities have been unable to find a country willing to accept the former CIA operative and Army soldier.
A Justice Department spokesman declined comment Tuesday, saying the motion speaks for itself. In it, federal prosecutors argue that Posada should remain behind bars because he is a flight risk with ``a demonstrated and recent ability to travel under cover and avoid detection,'' a reference to his illegal entry into the United States two years ago.
Felipe D.J. Millan, Posada's lawyer, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.
Previously, Millan has said that if the bond order was upheld he was not sure if Posada would immediately be released because of a pending deportation order.
Posada has been jailed since May 2005, when he was arrested on an immigration violation after telling authorities that he sneaked across the Mexican border into Texas. An immigration judge ruled that Posada could not be deported to Cuba, where he was born, or Venezuela, where he is a naturalized citizen, because of fears that he could be tortured.
His trial is set for May 11.