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President Obama grants clemency to Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, and Ramón Labañino

Jan. 8, 2015

[Ed. note: Obviously this happened last month, but we have just obtained the legal documents.]

On December 15, 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama granted clemency (effective Dec. 17) to the three remaining imprisoned members of the Cuban Five — Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, and Ramón Labañino. The full document can be seen here, but the important part follows:

WHEREAS GERARDO HERNANDEZ was convicted in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on an indictment charging violations of Sections 794(c), 1117, and 1546(a) of Title 18, United States Code, for which a total effective sentence of life imprisonment, five years of supervised release [Ed. note: !], and a special assessment of $1,200 was imposed on Dec. 12, 2001; and

WHEREAS the said GERARDO HERNANDEZ has been continuously confined since September 12, 1998; and

WHEREAS it has been made to appear that the ends of justice, foreign policy considerations, and the national security of the United States requires that the aforesaid sentence not be served in its entirety;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT KNOWN that I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, pursuant to my powers under Article II, Section 2, clause 1, of the Constitution, and in consideration of the premises, divers other good and sufficient reasons me thereunto moving, do hereby commute the aforesaid total prison sentence of the said GERARDO HERNANDEZ to expire on December 17, 2014, commuting also the term of supervised release in its entirety and remitting any unpaid balance of the special assessment, upon the following conditions:

(1) the said GERARDO HERNANDEZ shall depart the United States on December 17, 2014;

(2) the said GERARDO HERNANDEZ shall thereafter remain outside the limits of the United States, its territories, and its possessions;

(3) the said GERARDO HERNANDEZ shall not accept or otherwise receive any financial benefit, directly or indirectly, in any manner or amount, from any book, movie, or other publication or production, in any form or media, about his situation;

(4) the said GERARDO HERNANDEZ shall renounce any claim to benefits, including benefits under the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Program, related to employment while in the United States; and

(5) the said GERARDO HERNANDEZ shall waive and release any and all claims, demands, rights, and causes of action of whatsoever kind and nature against the United States of America, its agents, servants, and employees, including any actions challenging his conviction or sentence.

If, at any time, the said GERARDO HERNANDEZ violates any one or more of the aforesaid conditions, as determined by me in my complete discretion (or by a future President in his or her complete discretion), this commutation may be voided in its entirety and, if the said GERARDO HERNANDEZ shall be found at any time within the United States, its [Ed. note: one or more lines missing from the copy here] until the sentence as originally imposed on him by the court shall be served by him in accordance with law or until he is otherwise released in accordance with law.

Two days later, the long-time judge in the case, Judge Joan Lenard, took four pages to state the obvious: the Habeas motion is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because the subject of the motion is no longer in prison. In must be noted that the Habeas motion has been in Lenard's hands since October 12, 2010. More than four years had passed while the "wheels of justice" had had time to rule on the case. Evidently in Lenard's case those are four-sided square wheels incapable of turning.

The documents we have all pertain to Gerardo; we can assume that the documents for Antonio and Ramón are essentially identical.

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