Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Courtesy of our distinguished colleague Eli at Left I: Luis Posada Carriles, the former CIA asset whose long and impressive curriculum vitae includes the terrorist bombings of a Cuban airliner (with 73 passengers aboard) in 1976 and a series of Cuban hotels in 1997, may finally stand trial in Venezuela:
A federal immigration judge on Monday said he will order Luis Posada Carriles deported to Venezuela if he denies the Cuban exile militant protection in the United States. A Department of Homeland Security prosecutor did not object to Judge William Abbott's decision on the first day of Posada's asylum trial at a federal detention center here.The rich bit: no one is suggesting that Posada Carriles be extradited to Cuba. The sof-hearted feds, in their famously tender regard for the rights of the accused, are wringing their hands over the possibility that Venezuela will do exactly what we do -- ship a suspected terrorist off to another country where they don't mind taking the gloves off:
It was the first time since immigration officers detained Posada in Miami-Dade County on May 17 that the United States has publicly named a country where the controversial exile would be expelled if the judge denies his asylum application. Posada was transported to El Paso soon after his detention in Miami-Dade. Despite Abbott's announcement, it does not guarantee that Posada's deportation would be automatic. The judge can order deportation, then suspend it on the ground Posada could face torture in Venezuela, an ally of Cuba. The Cuban government wants to try Posada for a series of hotel bombings and has not minced words that he could be executed if convicted . . . .
But on Monday, Gina Garrett-Jackson, the lead Homeland Security assistant chief counsel, suggested to Judge Abbott that the federal government would not object to designating Venezuela as the country of deportation since Posada is a naturalized Venezuelan. Garrett-Jackson told the judge that the United States ''reserved the right'' to elaborate further on its position on Venezuela at a later date. She said consultations were ongoing between Homeland Security and the departments of State and Justice. She said the government did not wish to deport Posada to Cuba, his country of birth, because Homeland Security agreed he would face torture.
Earlier Tuesday, a Venezuelan lawyer and former government official said Posada, 77, would likely be tortured and humiliated if ordered to return to Venezuela.His former bosses will undoubtedly continue to seach for a pretext on which to grant Our Terrorist asylum, but in the meantime Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS, is throwing the Bush administration's rhetoric right back in its face. "If there is evidence against him in Venezuela, extradition ought to take place. Posada should be extradited to Venezuela to face justice," Insulza said yesterday. "In the world context of the combat against terrorism, terrorists have to face justice. It would not be explicable that this process could not go on,"
Joaquin F. Chaffardet Ramos, testifying on behalf of Posada, said the Venezuelan government has denounced Posada as a terrorist on state-run media, and he almost certainly "would be sent immediately" to Cuba.
Chaffardet said that because of his age, Posada could be sentenced to no more than four years in prison under Venezuelan law. But, he cautioned that the government probably would strip Posada of his citizenship, opening the door for his deportation to Cuba.
Venezuelan officials have vowed not to send Posada to Cuba and that country has said it would not seek his extradition.