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Jurors vote to acquit alleged Cuban terrorist

• The Raw Story

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas jury on Friday acquitted an 83-year-old anti-Castro Cuban exile and former CIA operative, considered an archfoe by Havana, of charges he lied to U.S. authorities about his role in bomb attacks against tourist areas in Cuba in 1997.

Attorneys said the federal jury deliberated for three hours after a 13-week trial in El Paso and acquitted Luis Posada Carriles of 11 counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and immigration fraud.

Posada, who had been active in anti-communist operations across Latin America for decades, is described as a "terrorist" by Cuba's communist leadership.

In Havana, the government website Cubadebate scathingly reported the acquittal, calling it "Justice made in USA."

Cuba has accused U.S. authorities of being hypocritical by calling for international cooperation against terrorism while showing leniency toward Posada.

Posada, who lives in Miami, is wanted in both Cuba and Venezuela, where he is accused of masterminding the 1976 suitcase bombing of a Cubana Airlines jet that killed 73 people.

"We're obviously disappointed by the decision," U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Dean Boyd said. "We appreciate the jury's service during this lengthy and hard-fought trial."

Felipe Milan, one of Posada's attorneys, said the defense "has always had the ultimate trust and faith in the U.S. judiciary," and noted that a federal judge in 2007 threw out immigration fraud charges against Posada.

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