Campaign News | Tuesday, 18 March 2003

Amnesty International have again written to U.S. Attorney General

Cuba Solidarity Campaign - The National Organisation for solidarity with Cuba


· Amnesty International have again written to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Kathleen Hawk Sawyer (Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons), in response to the alarming decision by the U.S. Authorities to place all five Cubans, known as the “Miami Five, into solitary confinement - without any apparent justification for this action. In three separate letters (14th March), including one to Caroline Heck-Miller (Senior Litigation Counsel), AI has raised it’s concerns that the five’s access to their legal teams is being restricted at such a crucial time in their preparations to meet the 7th April deadline for the filing of their appeal papers.

· AI has stated that they have received no response from the Attorney General or the Director of Prisons to their initial concerns, conveyed in December 2002. They have reiterated their initial concerns and raised new issues relating to the recent treatment of the five. AI have stated that “all of the five prisoners were placed into solitary confinement in their respective prisons, reportedly on a directive from the Bureau of Prisons, and that visits and telephone calls have been withdrawn. The reasons for such restrictions have not been given, nor is it known how long the prisoners may remain in solitary confinement”.

· AI have requested that the U.S. authorities provide information explaining why each of the five has been placed under “special measures”, how long these measures will be imposed, how each prisoner may seek a review of such measures and most significantly, full details of the conditions which the prisoners are currently confined. AI stated “we are concerned by reports that lawyers for the prisoners have been unable to visit their clients since the measures were imposed, despite the fact that appeal proceedings are pending in their criminal case”. AI also reminded the U.S. of it’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which they have ratified. AI stated: “governments have an obligation under international standards to ensure that no-one is subjected to arbitrary punishment, discrimination or conditions which amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

· In recent months the Cuba Solidarity Campaign’s efforts to achieve justice for the “Miami Five” have gathered significant pace. Following the filing of a motion for a retrial in November 2002, 82 members of parliament signed an early day motion in support of a retrial, a move publicly supported by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone. In addition, following a meeting convened by CSC with Amnesty International, Susan Lee, AI Program Director for the Americas Region, wrote to U.S. Attorney General and the Director of Federal Prisons to raise concerns over the trial, incarceration and treatment of the five and their immediate families.

· The Cuba Solidarity Campaign welcomes the efforts of Amnesty International in its attempts to highlight their concerns regarding the treatment of the Five Cubans currently held in the US. We call for maximum pressure to be applied on the US authorities to uphold international conventions relating to the treatment of the Five.

Contact: Rob Miller, Director, Cuba Solidarity Campaign for further details and campaigning information.



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