22 MEPs sign declaration in support of Miami Five families
Campaign News | Thursday, 22 March 2007
Campaigners urged to continue lobby of EU
22 MEPs from across the UK have signed a motion which condemns the United States for its treatment of the Miami 5.
Thanks to the work of CSC members, the UK boasts the highest number of European politicians to have so far signed the Written Declaration (the European Parliament’s equivalent of an Early Day Motion).
The declaration calls on the United States to grant visiting rights to all of the families of the Cuban detainees, and also criticises the “excessive privations” the five men are suffering during their “arbitrary” imprisonment.
It has currently been signed by 166 MEPs, which makes it the fourth best supported motion out of 35 tabled this year.
As part of the drive to get the UK’s 78 MEPs to sign the petition, CSC members have written to their representatives to let them know how important it is to pressure the United States into releasing the Miami 5 - or at least into allowing them a fair trial.
MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford, who is based in London, is vice-chair of the European Parliament's human rights subcommittee, and co-signed a letter about the Miami 5 which was sent to the American Ambassador to the European Union at the end of last year.
She said: “As recognised by a US appeals court in 2005, there are doubts about the legitimacy of these convictions regarding the fairness and impartiality of the trial, and these need to be dealt with in the criminal process.
“But irrespective of guilt or innocence, the refusal to issue visas for two of the prisoners' wives and other family members amounts to a stark lack of basic humanity.
“MEPs are thus calling on the US government to consider the humanitarian nature of these visits and grant the visas as quickly as possible.”
The Miami 5 are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González. They are all serving extreme sentences - life imprisonment in three cases - for thwarting terrorist actions, organized in Miami, against Cuba.
Father Geoff Bottoms, Chair of CSC’s Miami 5 Campaign Group, has visited Ramón Labañino and Gerardo Hernández in prison.
He said: “I am delighted that the European Union has recognised what an important issue the case of the Miami 5 is, and that so many have signed this declaration.
“With the United States seeking any pretext to justify further aggression against Cuba in its continuing ‘war on terror’, it is more vital than ever that these men are vindicated and returned home to their families.
“For they are the true fighters against a terrorism that is directed towards all those seeking a more just, equitable and peaceful world.”
The Written Declaration lapses on Thursday, March 29. People who want to urge their MEPs to sign it can find details of who their representatives are and how to contact them at:
MEPs who have signed the Written Declaration:
Christopher Beazley, Michael Cashman, Gary Titley, Robert Evans, Richard Corbett, Glyn Ford, Bill Newton Dunn, Neena Gill, David Martin, Morgan Eluned, Catherine Stihler, Glenis Willmot, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Fiona Hall, Karim Sajjad, Andrew Duff, Diana Wallis, Liz Lynne, Bairbre de Brun, Jean Lambert, Jillian Evans and Caroline Lucas.