Posada pre-pre-trial delayed yet again

An El Paso, Texas, judge has postponed until June 2, 2010, a  scheduling conference with prosecution and defence lawyers to—finally—set a date for Luis Posada Carriles’ trial on perjury charges. The prosecution claimed a "serious scheduling conflict" with the May 20th date. But as the Miami New Times noted: "Critics say the government is only trying to punt on the case because it threatens to divulge many classified documents that detail the old man’s associations with the CIA and other American government agencies. Already, a big portion of the court records are under seal."

Luis Posada Carriles
Luis Posada Carriles

Posada, 82, a militant anti-Castro Cuban exile,  is widely considered to have been the mastermind behind the 1976 bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 people, as well as a 1997 terrorist bombing campaign in Havana that killed an Italian-Canadian tourist.

He won’t attend the El Paso hearing. Posada’s lawyers convinced the judge he is too old and too ill to travel by plane or car for a court appearance. Instead he will listen in on the proceedings by phone from Miami where he is currently living.

Ironically, though Posada isn’t charged specifically with any of those crimes, the Texas case could provide judicial corroboration of his role in the 1997 attacks. The US government now alleges that Posada lied during immigration hearings—he’d illegally returned to the US in 2005—when he denied he was "involved in soliciting other individuals to carry out the bombings… in Cuba."

Given that the US failed to indict Posada for his role in the actual bombings—despite evidence provided by the Cuban government at the time, which ultimately led to the arrest and conviction of the Cuban Five rather than Posada or any of the plotters—the current case is bound to be controversial.

That may explain why, as the Miami Herald has reported, there has been an "unusual level of secrecy" surrounding the proceedings. At least 40 motions filed by various parties to the case have so far been ordered sealed from public scutiny.

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