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Friday, August 25, 2006

Two associates of confessed terrrorist Luis Posada Carriles avoided detention after a federal judge in Texas decided not to jail them for refusing to answer grand jury questions on whether the Cuban exile militant sneaked into the United States by land through Mexico or by sea with Miami friends' help.
José ''Pepín'' Pujol and Rubén López Castro appeared Tuesday at the U.S. courthouse in El Paso to face contempt charges for declining to answer grand jury questions. Friends said Pujol, 77, and López Castro, 67, had expected to be arrested but were not. A third Posada associate, Ernesto Abreu, 43, was arrested July 6 and remains in detention after also declining to answer grand jury questions.
Pujol's attorney, Luis Fernández, declined to comment because the federal judge in the case had issued a gag order.
But friends of Pujol and López Castro confirmed that both had appeared in court and were not jailed because the judge concluded that detention would not coerce them into talking.
López Castro's attorney could not be reached for comment.
Shana Jones, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio, declined to talk about the matter.
Posada has told U.S. officials that he sneaked in by land across the Mexican border. Cuba has claimed that Posada was smuggled into Miami from Isla Mujeres, Mexico, aboard a boat called Santrina.
The shrimping vessel is owned by a foundation linked to Posada's chief South Florida benefactor, Santiago Alvarez, now in jail and scheduled for trial next month on weapons charges.
Posada asked a federal magistrate Monday to free him from immigration custody in El Paso. Pujol and López Castro were at the hearing. Magistrate Norbert Garney said he would issue his decision soon. Source: Miami Herald 17.8.06


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