The US government on Tuesday appealed a federal court’s decision that led to the release of Luis Posada Carriles, who is wanted by Havana and Caracas for the deadly 1976 downing of a Cuban airliner.
Posada Carriles was arrested in 2005 on immigration charges, but was released in May this year after a federal judge in Texas dropped the indictment, saying the government tricked the ex-CIA contractor by using a citizenship interview to obtain evidence against him.
In its brief to a US appeals court in Texas, the government insists, however, that “the record shows no deceit or trickery, nor outrageous conduct that justifies the extreme sanction of dismissal.”
The government stressed the circumstances at the time “gave the defendant no license to lie to the interviewers.”
A Cuba-born Venezuelan national, Posada Carriles was jailed in Venezuela in 1976 for allegedly masterminding the downing of a Cuban jet off Barbados.
He escaped in 1985, was sentenced to eight years in jail in Panama for a 2000 bomb plot to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro, and was pardoned four years later.
US authorities are reportedly investigating whether Posada Carriles was involved in a 1997 Havana hotel bombing that killed an Italian tourist.
But he has not been indicted in the United States for any of the attacks and US authorities have refused to extradite him to Cuba or Venezuela, claiming he might be tortured there. The US government failed to find takers when it suggested sending him to another country.
Cuba’s communist President Fidel Castro and his leftist Venezuelan ally Hugo Chavez have repeatedly accused Washington of harboring a wanted terrorist while at the same time claiming to wage a worldwide battle against terrorism.
Declassified US documents show that Posada Carriles worked for the CIA from 1965 to June 1976. He also reportedly helped the US government ferry supplies to the Contra rebels who waged a bloody campaign to topple the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s.