Judge looks if 1961 bay of pigs is terrorist act
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Judge denies bond for Cuban, seeks Bay of Pigs info
26 Jul 2005 00:34:25 GMT
EL PASO, Texas, July 25 (Reuters) - A U.S. immigration judge denied bail on Monday for an asylum-seeking former CIA operative from Cuba and asked for legal briefs on whether his role in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion was a terrorist act.
Lawyers for Luis Posada Carriles called the request "surprising" because they said if Posada is found to have engaged in terrorism, it would imply the CIA did also.
The CIA backed the ill-fated attempt by 1,300 Cuban exiles, armed with U.S. weapons, to topple Cuban leader Fidel Castro after landing at the bay on Cuba's southern coast.
Posada, 77, has admitted working against Castro and earlier told reporters he was involved in the Bay of Pigs operation, but his lawyers said he was not in the actual invasion.
Posada is wanted in Venezuela, where he was a security official and naturalized citizen, for masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people.
But he has denied involvement and is seeking asylum in the United States. The Venezuelan government has asked the United States for his extradition.
Posada, was arrested in May in Miami and moved to El Paso for detention after he illegally entered the United States on the Texas-Mexico border.
His attorney, Matthew Archambeault, asked U.S. Immigration Judge William Abbott to set bail so Posada might be freed while his asylum case is pending, but Abbott refused, citing the pending accusations against Posada.
He set an Aug. 29 hearing to consider his request for asylum, which the judge said may be influenced by whether Posada was involved in terrorism.
Posada will "work with the government in good faith" to answer the terrorism question, said Archambeault. "Mr. Posada doesn't want the U.S. government to jump through hoops."
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Castro have accused the U.S. government of protecting Posada because of his CIA past.