US judge drops charges against alleged 1976 plane bomber

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MIAMI -- A US judge on Tuesday dropped an immigration indictment against anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles, bluntly claiming the government tricked the ex-CIA contractor, whom Cuba and Venezuela call a terrorist.

"I am free," exclaimed Posada Carriles, 79, on Miami's Radio Mambi, shortly after the judge in El Paso, Texas dismissed all seven charges linked to his sneaking into the United States and lying to immigration authorities.

"Thank God, you, all of my brothers, the people in Cuba .. for this victory," said Posada Carriles, who is accused by Cuba and Venezuela of masterminding a 1976 plane bombing that killed 73 people...

But Cuba reacted with anger at the release of the man they called "the Bin Laden of the hemisphere."...

Posada Carriles was jailed in Venezuela in 1976 for allegedly masterminding the downing of a Cuban jet off Barbados.

He escaped in 1985, was sentenced to eight years in jail in Panama for a 2000 bomb plot to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro, and was pardoned four years later.

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