Luis Posada Carriles' distinguished career of hiding, detention, and escapes was capped by Magistrate Judge Garney's 24-page opinion, obliging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to let Posada loose. Venezuela and Cuba have demanded his extradition, but the US has been less than cooperative. The official reason for US refusal to extradite Posada is the belief that Venezuela and/or Cuba would torture this alleged international terrorist. [Insert punch line here.]
On the fifth anniversary of 9-11, U.S. Magistrate Judge Norbert Garney, in El Paso, Texas ordered the supervised release of 79-year-old exile, last week, from ICE custody. Posada Carriles is a CIA-trained Venezuelan citizen, wanted by both Cuba and Venezuela in connection with the 1976 bombing of a Cuban plane off Barbados, killing 73 people, and a 2000 plot to assasinate Fidel Castro.
Cuba initially acquitted Posada for his invovlement in the assassination plot, but Posada escaped prison for El Salvador before the Cuban government could appeal the case. In El Salvador, Posada worked for the Nicaraguan Contra resupply network, operated by then White House national security council staffer Oliver North. Later, Posada was detained in Panamanian prison for his involvement in the assasination conspiracy. Upon being freed, he hid in Honduras, before sneaking into the US in March 2005. The Miami Herald reports that he was captured by the ICE that May, "when federal immigration agents detained him in Miami-Dade county hours after appearing at an invitation-only news conference".
[Subsequently,] Posada sued ICE in federal court when the Homelands Security agency denied his release March 22, arguing he was a "danger to the community" and posed a "risk to the national security of the United States."
But Garney wrote in his opinion Monday that the ICE statement was not enough to keep Posada in detention. According to Garney, the law requires for indefinite detention a formal certification by the U.S. attorney general [sic] that a detainee is a terrorist or threat to the community. "In this case, petitioner was never certified by the Attorney General as a terrorist or danger to the community or national security," wrote Garney, adding the government also had not "moved to detain petitioner under any special circumstances".
Magistrate Judge Garney's opinion only holds the weight of a recomendation, prior to approval by Article III Judge Philip Martinez. Judge Martinez's opnion is expected soon. According to Reuters, the US can not find another country to take Posada, where he will be free from torture. So, the court's only option in this case is to free him within in the US, or find a legal reason to continue his detention