Lawyers for the 5 respond to document presented by the US Attorney General's Office
News from Cuba | Saturday, 30 May 2009
by Nylian Vázquez García, Reprinted from Juventud Rebelde
The president of the Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, announced on Friday, during the prime time TV program The Round Table, that the defense of the five Cuban antiterrorists has already presented the response to the U.S. government's opposition to the Supreme Court revising the case.
Although they had ten days to lay out the arguments that responded to the document presented by the General Attorney's Office on Friday May 22, counsels for the defense of Gerardo Hernández, René González, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and Ramón Labañino handed them in on Wednesday 27, just two days later. The document gives the reasons for asking the highest legal authority of the United States to review the case, and that it be part of the scant two percent that the Court takes on each year.
«So much deferment just to start lying!», commented Alarcon, who recalled that on several occasions Washington had requested more time to, in the end, present its opposition to the proposal for revision put forth by the defense, supported also by 12 Amicus curiae (Friends of the court) briefs.
Alarcon explained that the document presented by the government-already responded to by the defense to avoid any excuse that they tried to delay-contains lies from the very first paragraph. Because, it maintains that-although it has been recognized by other circuits that it is unproven-the five Cubans gathered and passed on secret information, even though the Court of Appeals of Atlanta had already annulled those charges.
The president of the Cuban Parliament specified that the defense lawyers' document recalls that this has been the only trial denounced by the United Nations, and that the U.S. authorities are ignoring the Amicus reports presented to the Court signed by thousands of world personalities, in a number that goes without precedent.
He detailed the four essential arguments on which the new response by the defense is based: 1) the racial discrimination in the selection of the jury, 2) the partiality of the venue of the trial or the need for a fair venue, 3) the absence of proof against Gerardo Hernández for his alleged implication in the downing by Cuba of two small planes, 4) the fact that the Court of Appeals of Atlanta had already annulled the sentences of two of the five accused on the same charge as that of Gerardo; however the sentence remained on him alone.
This demonstrated that the initial accusations were false; the Court of Atlanta had already said that there never was any search for or transmission of secret information; nevertheless the authorities have continued the crime of prevarication for more than ten years.
"The government prevaricated and the judges also prevaricated, " noted Alarcon.
During the TV show, Alarcon underlined the negative implications of the erroneous and reprehensible behavior of the judges and the federal government in the exercise of their functions.
"The most important thing is that we are in the first phase of this battle: to get the case to be part of the two percent of the cases that are revised by the Court," he insisted. He said that the Supreme Court will announce its decision around June 15.
"The only solution is the retraction of the false accusations presented by the government and the return of the Five to Cuba... The President of the United States can do it," Alarcon said, recalling how to two spies who had gathered truly sensitive information for a foreign country recently had their charges dropped by the White House.
"If President Barack Obama wants to convince the world that there truly is a change, he has to demonstrate it with actions and not just with words," he declared.
The television program also discussed the "interesting turn" in the prosecution in the U.S. of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who for the first time has been implicated in the murder in Havana of Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo, although he is only accused of having lied when the authorities asked him if he knew the Salvadoran who placed the bombs in the Cuban hotels in 1997.
Jose Pertierra, the lawyer who represents Venezuela in the extradition process followed against Posada, maintains that in this matter there is a malicious failure of justice, because the terrorist is still not being tried for the true crimes committed. Pertierra said though that they will continue to pursue the issue in such organizations as the United Nations and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM) to press Washington to accept the extradition.
"Posada Carriles is not a liar, he is a terrorist," asserted Pertierra.
The U.S. lawyer agreed with the leader of the Cuban Parliament that the President Obma can change the situation in both cases, liberating the Five and prosecuting Posada Carriles.