Lawyers for the Five demand their release

Campaign News | Monday, 26 December 2005

They are innocent and have served enough time, says Weinglass

Atlanta 22 Dec: THE lawyers of the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States for combating terrorism have insisted on their clients’ innocence and called for their immediate release.

Innocent. Not guilty. These are key terms in the case and Attorney Leonard Weinglass emphasized that in describing his defendant Antonio Guerrero, as well as René González, Ramón Labañino, Gerardo Hernández and Fernando González, universally known as the Five.

Weinglass explained that the Attorney’s Office could prove that the Five did not possess any military secrets, as neither could it link Gerardo Hernández with the downing of the two private light aircraft with U.S. license plates during a subversive mission within Cuban airspace. He highlighted that those two reasons in fact invalidate the main charges and, in relation to the others, they have already served more than enough time.

In spite of the conclusion of the Special Working Group on Arbitrary Detention attached to the UN Human Rights Commission, and the ruling of the three 11th Circuit Court of Appeals judges overturning their trial, the Five now have to confront the complete bench of 12 judges in that court.

Weinglass informed Prensa Latina that seven of those 12 judges had agreed to review the decision of the first panel, which was supported by 93 pages of written argument, to try and change what the three judges described as a perfect storm of prejudice on a sunny day.

The lawyer commented that he would have liked the appeal court judges to have said that they didn’t need such a review, but Weinglass would seem to have a lot of other cards up his sleeve for the defense, such as his allusion to an exhaustive investigation into Héctor Pesquera, who was chief of the FBI office in Miami at the time of the arrest of the Five, and could be involved in another illicit action.

In a phone conversation from New York to his office in Florida, Richard Klugh explained to Prensa Latina exactly why he believes that the Five should be released.

All of them have already served extremely long sentences, he said, adding that he believes that not even the government thinks that they should be retried. They clearly did not act in a criminal manner, and when someone has suffered as much as they have done, the best that can be done is to release them, he affirmed.

The most perturbing part for Klugh, as he said, has been to see how his country has politicized the case in a complicit manner. He added that it was incredible to observe how the Attorney’s Office, knowing that the trial venue was inappropriate, still tried to have their cases heard in Miami.

"I hope that we will be able to make history in the week of February 13," he stated with optimism in reference to the date of the public hearing in the Court of Appeals with the participation of the defense lawyers and the prosecution.

The principal challenge in Atlanta will be the problem of the venue. Weinglass commented on the fact that no federal judge has revoked a trial location but this has been the worst venue in the last 50 years.

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