Posada Carriles to Stand Trial

by Kevin Jon Heller

My blogging has slowed down the past couple of weeks, because I’ve been traveling and finishing a book chapter that criticizes Moreno-Ocampo’s approach to deciding which situations to investigate.  (See my previous post.)  But I would be remiss if I did not mention this interesting piece of news — the Fifth Circuit has reversed the district court’s dismissal of the immigration charges against Luis Posada Carriles and ordered him to stand trial:

A U.S. appeals court has ruled that an anti-Castro Cuban exile and former CIA operative accused in Cuba of a 1976 plane bombing that killed 73 people should stand trial for an immigration violation, court records showed on Friday.

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Thursday said a lower court erred in dismissing an indictment against Luis Posada Carriles days before he was to stand trial in El Paso, Texas, for allegedly lying during 2006 efforts to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The court sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone, who threw the charges out last year on grounds of government misconduct.

Given that Posada Carriles is currently a free man in Miami, this is good news.  The timing of the decision, however, is more than a little curious: the Fifth Circuit released its decision just three days after the Vice-President of Panama said that his government would seek Posada Carriles’ extradition on far more serious terrorism charges.  I’m reluctant to suggest that the Fifth Circuit was influenced by Panama’s actions, but you can’t blame Cuba for being upset that the court has effectively guaranteed — at least for now — that Posada Carriles will not face the justice he so richly deserves.

http://opiniojuris.org/2008/08/30/posada-carriles-to-stand-trial/

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