After a week of legal wrangling, a US court in Texas Thursday released a Cuban exile sought by Cuba and Venezuela on terrorism charges, a person connected to the case said.
Luis Posada Carriles, 78, is wanted in Cuba for the 1976 bombing of a passenger plane and has been charged in the US with seven counts of naturalization violations.
But the US has refused to expel him, and has turned down extradition requests for the one-time CIA operative because he could face torture in Venezuela or Cuba, a US judge ruled in 2005.
Cuban President Fidel Castro has charged that the US is protecting a terrorist by limiting his legal case to a minor immigration violation.
Posada’s release on 350,000 dollars bail was delayed by a week after US federal prosecutors obtained an emergency order to stop the release.
Posada was released by a federal court in El Paso, Texas, according to Anna Hernandez, a spokeswoman for his defence lawyer said.
‘He will be flying back to Miami soon,’ she said in a telephone interview.
But she said she could not ‘disclose where or when or how he’s coming back’ for security reasons.
Posada’s prospective release triggered hundreds of scattered protest demonstrations in Cuba last week.
Cuba and Venezuela accuse Posada - who has long-standing ties with the Central Intelligence Agency and has led several attacks against Cuba - of carrying out acts of terrorism, including the 1976 bombing of a Cubana de Aviacion passenger plane with 73 people on board.
Posada was convicted in Venezuela for being one of the masterminds of the airliner bombing, but he escaped from prison after eight years and joined US-directed covert counterinsurgency operations in Central America.
He was also convicted in Panama in 2000 for attempting to murder Cuban President Fidel Castro, but was pardoned four years later by a Panamanian president closely allied with the US.
Cuba has also accused Posada of masterminding the bombing attacks at Cuban tourist sites in 1997, which claimed the life of one Italian tourist.