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Venezuela to renew extradition request for anti-Castro militant

[JURIST] Venezuela will renew its request that the US extradite anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], an official announced on Friday. Venezuela is hopeful that the new Obama administration will be more receptive to the request [El Universal report, in Spanish]. Venezuela and Cuba contend that the US is legally obligated to extradite Posada because it is bound by international treaties, including the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation [texts]. In August 2008, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled [text, PDF; JURIST report] that Posada will stand trial in the US for alleged immigration violations. Until his trial concludes, extradition will be effectively blocked.

Posada is wanted by both Venezuela and Cuba for his alleged involvement in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airline [ASN backgrounder]. He is suspected of involvement with narcoterrorism and a series of Cuban bombings in 1997 [Washington Post report]. He was convicted in Panama for the attempted assassination of Fidel Castro but was pardoned [Miami Herald report]. Citing the UN Convention Against Torture [text], the US has refused to extradite Posada in the past [JURIST report], saying that he cannot be sent to either Venezuela or Cuba because he is likely to be tortured if extradited to either country. Citing Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives], Cuba countered that claim during a November 2008 UN Security Council meeting [press release], saying that while the likelihood of torture in Cuba is speculative, the likelihood of torture in the US is not.

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