The five Cuban political prisoners must be freed immediately
by Salim Lamrani
Jan. 3, 2007
Reprinted from ZMag
On June 16 and 17, 1998, the Cuban government invited two important FBI officials so that they could receive documents proving the danger coming from several people seriously implicated in terrorism against Cuba who resided in Florida. Until today, none of them have been questioned by the US authorities despite the evidence that the FBI has in its possession.
Three month later, on September 12, 1998, the FBI arrested Five Cubans: Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and René González. Their crime? Infiltrating, at the risk of their own lives, the criminal Cuban exile groups responsible for numerous violent actions that ended the life of many innocent people. From 1959, the terrorism against the Cuban people has resulted in 3,478 dead and left 2,099 people permanently disabled.
After a fraudulent and predisposed legal process, the five where sentenced collectively to 4 life in prison plus 77 years for fighting terrorism. For 8 years now, they have been imprisoned in 5 different high security prisons, flung to the four corners of the country, to impede consular visitations.
These five Cubans have been victims of cruel and inhumane treatment. From the day of their arrests until February 3d, 2000, 17 months, there were isolated, with no contact with other prisoners or even guards.
On May 27, 2005, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention denounced the “arbitrary” detention of the Cuban five, stating that it was a violation of international norms and demanded a new trial.
On August 9th, 2005, three judges of the Atlanta Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, with 80 years of accumulated experience, unanimously decided to declare the original verdict null and asked for that decision to be vacated for a new trial.
On September 28th, 2005, the US government asked the full Court of Appeals, made up of 12 judges, to reconsider the decision of August 8th, 2005, a very uncommon action, according to the US legal experts. .
On August 9th, 2006, alter strong political pressure, the Atlanta Court of Appeals changed the decision of the three judges and reinstated the sentences.
There have been several cases of psychological and moral torture against the family of the five Cubans. Olga Salanueva, wife of René González and their daughter Ivette, as well as Adriana Pérez, wife of Gerardo Hernández, have not been authorized to visit their love ones. On June 25, 2002, Adriana Pérez was granted a US vista to visit her husband in Lompoc Federal Penitentiary after waiting for 5 years. But upon her arrival in the United States, she was detained by the FBI, interrogated for 11 hours and then expelled to Cuba without seeing Gerardo. This cruelty is an immoral indignation and is unacceptable.
We, the signers of this statement, condemn this injustice and demand the government of the United Status to immediately free these five innocent men. We also take this moment to call on all the citizens of the world to call for the end this unjust burden of the Cuban five and their families.
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel