Posada Carriles May Be Extradited to Panama

by Kevin Jon Heller

It’s been a while since I wrote about Luis Posada Carriles, former CIA asset and admitted terrorist, who currently walks the streets of Miami as a free man due to the Bush administration’s disinterest in punishing terrorism committed against countries the US doesn’t like.

Fortunately, Posada Carriles may not be free much longer, thanks to a decision by the Panamanian Supreme Court:

Panama’s Supreme Court overturned a presidential pardon of four Cuban emigres accused of plotting to kill Fidel Castro, including former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles, officials said Tuesday.

The court ruled late Monday that 180 pardons granted in 2004 by outgoing President Mireya Moscoso — including of the four Cubans — were unconstitutional, leaving open the possibility that many of those formerly cleared could return to jail.

The attorney in Panama for Posada, Rogelio Cruz, said he believes Panama may request his client’s extradition from the U.S., where he is being held in jail.

“Given the good relations between President (Martin) Torrijos and the Cuban government, I have no doubt that Panama will ask for the four anti-Castro militants to be extradited from the U.S.,” Cruz said.

The signs all point to Cruz being right.  Panamanian officials have already acknowledged that they are prepared to request Posada Carriles’s extradition:

Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro said the Panamanian government would request their extradition if the judiciary asked it to.

“If it is requested by the judicial branch, we will start the process, whether it be extradition or another process, depending on what (they) ask for,” he told reporters.

The Supreme Court will not recommend extradition in its written ruling, a court spokesperson said on Wednesday, but the public prosecutor’s office said it could do so once it has studied the court’s text.

Posada Carriles was able to escape being extradited to Venezuela by convincing a federal judge that he “faced the threat of torture” there.  That will be a far more difficult argument to make concerning Panama, given that the State Department itself recently acknowledged — in its 2007 Report on Human Rights Practices — that the Panamanian government does not engage in torture, unlawful killings, or politically-motivated disappearances.

Stay tuned — with fingers crossed that this cold-blooded killer will finally receive in Panama the justice that the US has always refused to provide.

http://opiniojuris.org/2008/07/19/posada-carriles-may-be-extradited-to-panama/

One Response

  1. Seems like a good argument for not dealing with terrorists through the civilian court system …

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