British priest accuses US of delaying legal process for the Five

Campaign News | Tuesday, 15 November 2005

Father Geoffrey Bottoms in Havana

BRITISH priest Father Geoffrey Bottoms affirmed yesterday (Thursday) in Havana that the United States is trying to delay the legal procedure for the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters unjustly imprisoned in that country.

By requesting a reconsideration of the previous Appeals Court decision, U.S. prosecutors are just playing with time, because they know that their case is lost, commented the president of the UK Committee to Free the Five.

Gerardo Hernández, René González, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero y Fernando González, were arrested in 1998 in Miami while gathering information on anti-Cuban terrorist groups based in the state of Florida.

After a politicized trial, they were handed down severe prison sentences ranging from 15 years to double life; all of the sentences were overturned this past August 9, and that annulment is now pending ratification by the 12 judges of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, at the request of the U.S. Attorney.

This new maneuver, Fr. Bottoms noted, is being closely followed by many friends of the Five in Britain, who believe that justice will be done in the end. Fr. Bottoms, an outstanding Cuba solidarity activist in his country, added that international public opinion is becoming more interested in the case, as well as that of the notorious terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who has benefited from the maneuvers of U.S. government prosecutors.

People are beginning to realize Washington’s hypocrisy in its supposed war on terrorism, he affirmed.

He said that it was inconceivable that Posada Carriles and his accomplice, Orlando Bosch, should receive privileged treatment from U.S. authorities, while those same authorities are persecuting and condemning the five Cuban patriots.

He accused the United States of blocking contact between the Five and their family members, whose U.S. entry visas are refused or delayed.

Because of that intransigence, Olga Salanueva, the wife of René González, and their young daughter, Ivette, have gone five years without seeing René.

Even worse is the case of Adriana Pérez and Gerardo Hernández, who haven’t seen each other for seven years, due to repeated visa refusals by the U.S. State Department.

Fr. Bottoms noted that these irregularities would be explained during the days of solidarity with the Five that are being organized by the Committee in four British cities during early December.

Those events will feature the presence of Olga Salanueva and 7-year-old Ivette, Fr. Bottoms said. (PL)

Public rally: Free the Five! See events on this page:

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