Free the Cuban five

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Jul 13 16:24:48 MDT 2003

Free the Five!

Appeal Process Exposes the Grave Injustice Surrounding Miami Cuban Spy Trial

Alana Yu-lan Price and Sara Clement, research associates at the Council on
Hemispheric Affairs, explain how five innocent Cuban men have ended up in
the Bush junta's jails.

Plastered across billboards, banners, and t-shirts, the faces of the Cuban
Five fill the streets of Havana. As a result of their efforts to infiltrate
anti-Castro terrorist groups, these five confessed spies were convicted and
sentenced to unusually long and severe prison terms during a controversial
trial in Miami. Although the Cuban Five have achieved martyr status on the
island, only a small percentage of U.S. citizens has even heard of their
case. However, this situation is quickly changing as U.S. grassroots
organizations create informational websites and host educational meetings
on the topic. Mobilizations to free the Five already have occurred in New
York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. Likewise, a
resolution before the British Parliament has attracted the signatures of 99
members. More than 125 groups from 64 countries in Latin America, Europe,
Asia and Africa have protested the plight of these prisoners. On the legal
front, lawyers of the Five filed briefs with the 11th Circuit Court of
Appeals in Atlanta on April 7, 2003, and on May 13, 2003, to appeal the
district court's denial of their motion for a retrial. The National Jury
Project and the National Lawyers Guild, backed by the International
Association of Democratic Lawyers, submitted amicus curiae or "friend of
the court" briefs on behalf of the prisoners. The U.S. government is
expected to file its response to the defense attorneys' briefs on Sept. 15.
"Lawyers agree that the law is on the side of these men," said Leonard
Weinglass, the distinguished trial lawyer defending Antonio Guerrero of the
Cuban Five, "but as in all political cases, ideological factors are swaying
the outcome of the case. Only if there is broad popular support for the
Five will the courts be compelled to follow the law." Needless to say,
Washington would prefer to ignore the embarrassing similarities between the
grounds used by Havana to prosecute and sentence 75 Cuban dissidents to
lengthy jail terms and those used by the U.S. to incarcerate the Cuban
"spies" for equally long terms under harsh conditions and on little hard


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