Report from Miami 5 hearing in Atlanta
Campaign News | Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Father Geoff Bottoms reports back from the court for CSC
Defense lawyers presented their arguments this week in the latest stage of the appeal for the Miami Five who have now spent almost nine years in US prisons.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held an oral hearing in the Elbert P. Tuttle Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday 20th August.
Lawyers for the Five argued that the prosecution had made improper statements during the course of the trial and that the evidence used to convict them was insufficient.
Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez are presently serving sentences ranging from 15 years to double life on charges that include conspiracy to commit espionage and murder.
Lawyers and activists from the US, Canada, Latin America, Britain and Europe packed the courtroom to witness the proceedings that lasted for over an hour as both prosecution and defence were given thirty minutes each to present their arguments.
Leonard Weinglass, attorney for Antonio Guerrero, assessed the hearing positively by saying that the defence had achieved their objectives in dealing with the three main issues of prosecutorial misconduct, insufficient evidence on the conspiracy counts, and inappropriate sentencing.
He believed that the charge of murder conspiracy leveled against Gerardo Hernandez would be set aside and that a new trial could be called to address the conspiracy charge on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.
Judges Birch and Kravitch who heard the original appeal in March 2004 and overturned the convictions and sentences while calling for a new trial were joined by Judge William Pryor who is a Bush appointee and described in the local press as a righht wing zealot who does not deserve to be a judge. Their decision of August 9th 2005 was reversed by the full 11th Circuit Court a year later.
A majority decision among the three judges could be some time coming.
Full coverage and press conference downloads at: www.freethefive.org
MIAMI FIVE LONDON VIGIL
To mark the ninth anniversary of the arrest of the Miami Five in the US, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign plans to hold a candlelit vigil outside the US Embassy in London on 9 October.
Tuesday 9 October, 5.30-7pm
US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London(Bond St tube)
If you would like to find out more or help publicise and run the event please contact CSC on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7263 6452