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Anti-Castro Cuban exile seeks US custody release

Written by: Staff

EL PASO, Texas, Apr 8 (Reuters) Lawyers for anti-Castro Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, the suspected mastermind of the 1976 bombing of a Cuban Airlines jet, have filed a motion in court requesting he be released from detention and allowed to live with his family in Miami.

They argued in court papers disclosed yesterday that at age 78 and in ill health Posada was not dangerous and was being held without cause in El Paso by US authorities looking to deport him.

Posada ''has already given everything he could in his fight for a free Cuba. (He) now simply wishes to be with his family,'' the motion said.

A spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the agency was ''reviewing'' the request, filed in US District Court on Thursday.

A court clerk said no hearing had been set. Posada's attorney, Eduardo Soto of Coral Gables, Florida, could not be reached for comment.

Posada has been in US custody since last May for illegally crossing the border into Texas from Mexico and has been a political hot potato for the Bush administration because of his history of violent acts to sabotage the government of Cuban President Fidel Castro.

The former CIA operative, who took part in the ill-fated 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow Castro, is wanted for trial in Venezuela and Cuba on charges he was behind the 1976 airliner bombing that killed 73 people.

Those two countries say Posada is a terrorist and Washington should deport him to face justice.

In September, a US judge found Posada could be deported for violating immigration laws, but not to Cuba or Venezuela because he might be tortured or killed there.

The Bush administration has hostile relations with Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and close political ties to the anti-Castro Cuban community concentrated in Florida.

The US immigration service ruled last month that Posada would have to remain in custody while he is in the United States, because he is a national security risk. But it said his deportation to another country was ''reasonably foreseeable.'' The court papers filed this week included a statement by Posada in which he renounced violence as a means of changing the communist government in Cuba.

''It is now time to use other methods, political, diplomatic or otherwise that may accelerate the fall of the Castro regime and thus shall free my country,'' he said.

The motion also said Posada deserved fair treatment because he served in the US military, worked for the CIA for many years and performed services to help anti-communist forces in Central America.

Reuters OM VP0600

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