[Marxism] 5 Cubans get new trials after Miami spying convictions overturned

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 9 14:55:10 MDT 2005


(We'll wait to see now what federal government responds to this. 
Will they appeal to the entire panel? We'll see in time, but 
this is big, big news. Stay tuned!

(The court's decision was decried in Miami, where radio show
host Ninoska Pérez Castellón told listeners on Radio Mambi,
710 AM, that it was "a racist decision" against the
Cuban-American community.)
===========================================================

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/cuba/sfl-89cubanspy,0,3117194.story
5 Cubans get new trials after Miami spying convictions overturned
By Ihosvani Rodriguez
sun-sentinel.com

August 9, 2005, 3:40 PM EDT

MIAMI -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected the
criminal convictions and sentences of five men accused of
spying for the Cuban government, ruling that their 2001
trial in Miami was not fair because of a strong anti-Castro
sentiment in community.

In a 93-page order, a three-judge panel from the 11th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals, cited more than a dozen incidents
that took place before and during the trial to argue that
Miami-Dade County was not a suitable venue for the heated
controversial case.

Attorneys for the men lauded the order and called it a
landmark decision that likely will be cited by attorneys
seeking changes in venue. They also said the ruling could
affect the way Cuban nationals charged with crimes in South
Florida are tried.

In a short statement, federal prosecutors in Miami-Dade
said they were reviewing the order and declined to comment
any further.

A federal court jury convicted Gerardo Hernández Nordela,
Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez,
Fernando González Llort and René González Sehwerert in June
2001 following a seven-month federal espionage trial. They
are serving terms of from 15 years to life in federal
prisons across the country.

In Cuba, the men are hailed as anti-terrorists and the
Castro government has organized massive rallies on their
behalf. A number of left-leaning organizations in the U.S.
also have championed their cause.

An advisor to Ricardo Alarcón, president of the Cuban
National Assembly said Tuesday that the appellate court's
decision was an important step, but Cuba wants the men
released. Cuban officials also said the ruling validates
their view that the trial in Miami was unjust.

In Miami, the men have been widely despised by the Cuban
exile community.

The court's decision was decried in Miami, where radio show
host Ninoska Pérez Castellón told listeners on Radio Mambi,
710 AM, that it was "a racist decision" against the
Cuban-American community.

In the years before the trial, passions in Miami were
inflamed by two incidents: The Cuban government's
shoot-down of the two Brothers to the Rescue planes and the
international custody battle over Elián González. Cubans in
Miami accused the spies of aiding in the downing of the
planes.

The court's order included the events and gave a narrative
of a number of other incidents that occurred during the
trial.

Among them, Cuban exiles staged protests during the trial
and some even approached potential jury members. During his
testimony, Brothers to the Rescue founder Jose Basulto
accused one of the men's attorneys of being A Cuban
government official.

The appellate judges noted that their decision was not
going to be a popular one.

"The court is aware that....the reversal of these
convictions will be unpopular and even offensive to many
citizens," the justices wrote. "However, the court is
equally mindful that those same citizens cherish and
support the freedoms they enjoy in this country that are
unavailable to residents of Cuba."

Attorneys for the men said during a joint-press conference
that they will be seeking an immediate release of the five
from the maximum-security prisons they are housed.

"It's been a very long 7-year trip," said one of the
attorneys, Paul McKenna. "I have to say that many times I
doubted the outcome."

Havana Bureau Chief Vanessa Bauzá contributed to this
report. Ihosvani Rodriguez can be reached at
ijrodriguez at sun-sentinel.com or 305-810-5005.

Copyright © 2005, South Florida Sun-Sentinel






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