Friday, June 12, 2009

Feds try to Block Evidence Release in Posada Case


EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to block the potential public release of "sensitive" evidence in a perjury case against an aging anti-Castro Cuban militant who once worked for the CIA.

In a motion filed in federal court last week, prosecutors asked District Judge Kathleen Cardone to block the release of information that "potentially implicates the privacy, propriety, law enforcement, and other interests of third parties and foreign governments" in the case against Luis Posada Carriles.

The 81-year-old former CIA operative and U.S. Army soldier is accused of lying to U.S. authorities about his involvement in a series of 1997 bombings in Havana that killed an Italian tourist. He also is charged with lying to immigration authorities about how he sneaked into the United States from Mexico in 2005.

Posada has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty in the perjury case.

Prosecutors contend that "the government has a compelling interest in preventing certain sensitive but unclassified discovery materials from being disclosed to anyone not a party to the court proceedings in this matter; such material may include information relevant to ongoing national security or criminal investigations and prosecutions."

In previous filings, lawyers for Posada asked prosecutors to turn over copies of documents detailing Posada's "long-term association with U.S. government intelligence and law enforcement agencies."

Besides the criminal case, which marked the first time U.S. authorities have accused the one-time ally of being involved in a terrorist event, Posada also is wanted in Cuba and Venezuela on charges that he plotted the deadly 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner.

A telephone message left Friday for Posada's lawyer in El Paso, Felipe D.J. Millan, was not immediately returned.

Posada, who is scheduled to stand trial in February, is living with his family in Miami.

A federal immigration judge in El Paso ordered Posada out of the country in 2005. But the judge also ruled that he cannot be sent to Cuba, where he was born, or Venezuela, where he is a naturalized citizen, because of fears that he could be tortured.

No other country is willing to let him in.

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