From the Associated Press
An appeals court Thursday blocked anti-Castro Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles’ release from jail just as he began the process to be freed on $250,000 bond.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued the order after he had already been transferred from the Otero County, N.M., jail to the federal courthouse in El Paso to sign paperwork that would have freed him.
Posada, 79, was escorted back to New Mexico, wearing a red prison uniform and shackled at the waist and feet.
He was to be turned over to federal immigration officials because he has a pending order for his deportation, but he will remain in jail in New Mexico until at least Tuesday, the deadline for his attorneys to respond to the appeals court order, officials said.
Prosecutors filed the emergency motion Thursday in response to U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone’s decision to deny the Justice Department’s motion to keep him jailed.
Posada has been held since May 2005, when he was arrested on charges of entering the United States illegally.
A federal immigration judge ruled in 2005 that Posada must be deported, but said he could not be sent to his native Cuba or to Venezuela, where he is a naturalized citizen, because of fears that he could be tortured.
Authorities have not been able to find a country willing to take the former CIA operative and U.S. Army soldier.
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. Posada has denied involvement.
Posada’s Miami lawyer, Arturo V. Hernandez, declined to comment. Posada’s El Paso lawyer, Felipe D.J. Millan, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
In Havana, there was no immediate reaction from the communist-run government to the news that Posada’s release had been blocked.
Ailing leader Fidel Castro earlier had accused the United States of planning to free a “monster,” and political rallies have been held around the island since to protest his possible release.