EL PASO, Texas – A Cuban militant accused of masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner wants a federal judge to let him out of jail while the U.S. government continues searching for a country where it can deport him.
Luis Posada Carriles was ordered out of the United States last year. But an immigration judge said the government couldn't send him to Cuba, where he was born, or Venezuela, where he is a naturalized citizen, citing the possibility he could be tortured. So far, no other country has been found.
Posada, a former CIA operative and a fervent foe of Cuban President Fidel Castro, is accused by Cuba and Venezuela of plotting the jetliner bombing while living in Venezuela. He has denied involvement in the bombing, which killed 73 people.
He was jailed last year on immigration charges after being accused of sneaking into Texas from Mexico in March 2005.
Felipe D.J. Millan, an El Paso immigration attorney, said he and Posada's Miami lawyers will ask a federal judge on Monday to let Posada live with his family in Miami while he waits to be deported.
Millan said the government has had plenty of time to find a country to take Posada and he doubts his 78-year-old client will ever leave the United States.
"There is no foreseeable opportunity that he will be removed," he said. "He just wants to go home and die in peace."
Posada's health is declining, and he needs heart surgery to implant a pacemaker, Millan said. The El Paso detention center, where Posada has been held since last year, lacks the necessary health services, he said.
"The people who run the detention center ... treat Mr. Posada very well," Millan said. "They've done their part, more than their part. But they can only go so far. It's a detention center, not a hospital."
Millan said he was not sure if Posada, who has applied for U.S. citizenship, would testify at Monday's hearing. But his doctor is expected to take the stand and several of Posada's relatives, including his daughter, are expected to be in court.