In memory of Leonard Weinglass - report of his 2007 UK Tour

Campaign News | Thursday, 24 March 2011

THE MIAMI Fives’ lead attorney Leonard Weinglass has captivated audiences at a string of events across the UK.

The veteran campaigner’s 10-day tour - organised by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign - included a packed meeting at the House of Commons, where he first addressed MPs and then spoke at a public meeting about the Cubans’ unjust imprisonment.

He addressed lawyers, delegates at the Latin America 2007 Conference, and public meetings in Manchester, Derby and Ireland.

Rob Miller, CSC’s Director, said: “Mr Weinglass was truly inspirational. To hear him calmly spell out the horrifying catalogue of miscarriages of justice involved in the cases of the Miami Five has reinforced our commitment to fight for their release.

“We must pull out all the stops in the campaign to free the five heroes, who remain unbowed even after years in US prisons.”

So far this year CSC has held a large public vigil outside the US Embassy to mark the Miami Five’s ninth year in jail, has lobbied MPs to sign an Early Day Motion about the case (signed by 110 MPs), and has successfully lobbied members of the European Parliament to sign a motion calling on the US authorities to grant the wives of René and Gerardo access to their husbands (signed by 24 out of 80 UK MEPs).

Mr Weinglass’s first public meeting was at the House of Commons, in an event chaired by Labour MP Ian Gibson, on Thursday, November 29. It included a speech by Father Geoff Bottoms, chair of CSC’s Miami Five Campaign, who has visited two of the Cubans in jail.

The celebrated civil rights lawyer then made a keynote speech at the Latin America 2007 Conference, held in London, which was attended by more than 600 delegates, and gave a talk at the College of Law in central London. The meeting included Michael Seifert, of the UK Lawyers’ Network in support of the Five, and John Hendy QC.

Steve Cottingham, of O.H. Parsons, chaired the meeting, and said: “It was a packed event of more than a hundred people including lawyers and law students, and we all listened with rapt attention as Mr Weinglass and other speakers explained about the case.

“The audience hung on to his every word as he explained the legal basis of the charges against the Five and the difficulties being experienced by their legal team in attempting to defend them.

“A number of lawyers and law students expressed their support for the campaign to free the Five. This will help the campaign as a whole to step up the fight for justice and freedom for the Five.”

Mr Weinglass also spoke at public meetings hosted by the Manchester and Derby CSC branches.

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