CSC statement on Miami 5 appeal
Campaign News | Friday, 6 June 2008
Disappointingly, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia has just upheld the convictions of all Five yet sent the cases of Antonio, Ramon and Fernando for re-sentencing on the grounds that no top-secret information was gathered or transmitted.
This still leaves Antonio and Ramon facing a substantial prison term even though their life sentences will be commuted and Gerardo Hernandez now faces the prospect of serving his two life sentences to the full. Meanwhile Rene will continue to serve his term of fifteen years while Fernando will have his sentence of nineteen years reduced.
In rejecting the arguments of the Five's lawyers concerning the procedures and conduct of the trial in Miami, Circuit Judge William H. Pryor, who is a Bush appointee and described by the local press as a right wing zealot, summed up the Court's decision by writing, "We conclude that the arguments about the suppression of evidence, sovereign immunity, discovery, jury selection and the trial are meritless, and sufficient evidence supports each conviction."
Meanwhile Luis Posada Carriles continues to enjoy immunity from extradition for his terrorist crimes while the Miami Five continue to pay the price for defending their people against US-based terrorism.
Because of the political nature of the case Fernando did not expect a decision until after the US presidential elections where the desired election of Barack Obama would create new possibilities following his declared intention to enter into dialogue with Cuba. Events have proved otherwise yet both the legal and political battles will continue in the fight for justice with the Cuba Solidarity Campaign in Britain more determined than ever to raise the stakes.
Whatever the eventual outcome in this protracted campaign Fernando Gonzalez knows that victory is ultimately assured thanks to the international solidarity that is continually growing and especially here in Britain.
Geoff Bottoms of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign said:
"The latest decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia to uphold the convictions of the Five is a travesty of justice that only serves to underline the political nature of the case.
"Although three of the Five will be resentenced it still leaves Gerardo Hernandez in prison for the rest of his life while Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labanino could still face a substantial number of years.
"It is more urgent than ever that we step up the campaign for the freedom of all Five in the hope that a change in the political climate in the US will open up new possibilities. To this end the proposed campaign activities in October around the 10th anniversary of the arrests become ever more essential."