Washington – A US judge on Tuesday dismissed all charges against Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, who is accused in Venezuela and Cuba of acts of terrorism.
US District Judge Kathleen Cardone dismissed all seven counts of immigration fraud based on a motion filed by the defence, only three days before Posada Carriles’ trial was due to begin in a Texas court, a spokeswoman for his lawyer confirmed to Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Posada Carriles, 79, is accused by Havana and Caracas of the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner, which killed 73 people. His 350,000- dollar release on bail last month pending the trial had already been strongly criticized by both countries and provoked rallies in Cuba.
Cuban state media on Tuesday criticized the judge’s ‘cynical’ decision and called the trial against Posada Carriles a ‘farce.’
Posada Carriles’ trial in the US was on charges that he lied to immigration officials and on an application to obtain US citizenship last year, including about how he entered into the country in March 2005.
Prosecutors were still reviewing Tuesday’s ruling and had not yet decided whether to appeal, The Miami Herald reported, citing a US Justice Department spokesman.
Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua have all called for Posada Carriles’ extradition, and had criticized the US for trying Posada Carriles on lesser immigration charges.
US courts have refused extradition requests for the one-time CIA operative, saying that Posada Carriles could face torture in Venezuela or Cuba.
Posada was convicted in Venezuela of 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 2000 in Panama of 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 Carriles of masterminding a string of 1997 bombings at Cuban tourist sites, in which one Italian tourist was killed.
© 2007 dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur