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National Conference of US Lawyers Approve Resolution in Favor of the Cuban Five

posted by F Espinoza | 07.11.2007 15:57 | Anti-militarism | Social Struggles

The 70th Annual Conference of the National Lawyers Guild which took place from October 31 to November 4 in Washington, DC approved "Resolution Endorsing the Call for an International Investigation into the Failure of the United States Government to Address and Remedy the Denial of Justice in the Case of "The Cuban Five", and for Further Education and Related Actions".

National Conference of US Lawyers Approve Resolution in Favor of the Cuban Five

National Lawyers Guild

The 70th Annual Conference of the National Lawyers Guild which took place from October 31 to November 4 in Washington, DC approved "Resolution Endorsing the Call for an International Investigation into the Failure of the United States Government to Address and Remedy the Denial of Justice in the Case of "The Cuban Five", and for Further Education and Related Actions".
WHEREAS: Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959, Cuba and its people have suffered from continued terrorism including sabotage and assassinations (completed and attempted), killing over 3,000 of its citizens and maiming thousands of others;
WHEREAS: Cuba has repeatedly protested the planning, financing and launching of such attacks from the U.S., in private and public protests and requests to the U.S. government, and Cuba determined the necessity of sending its own agents to monitor continuing plots in order to deter or minimize further such attacks;
WHEREAS: These efforts have been largely but not entirely successful, such as resulting in the arrest of Luis Posada Carriles in Panama before he could carry out a likely act of mass murder in order to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro, but Posada and his operatives were subsequently pardoned in Panama and welcomed into the United States, where all of them are now free and out of custody, despite an extradition request from Venezuela to try Posada for a prior act of mass murder, which the U.S. government has failed to process despite the provisions of its long-standing extradition treaty with Venezuela;
WHEREAS: In September 1998, the U.S. Government arrested the Cuban Five who were in Florida to try to monitor continuing plots against Cuba in order to deter or minimize further such attacks, they were then held in solitary confinement for 17 months, and were tried and convicted in Miami (over the objections of the defendants that a fair trial could not be held there), and they were sentenced to long prison terms ranging from 15 years to more than two life terms;
WHEREAS: The United States government has repeatedly violated the rights of the five prisoners and their families to regular visitation, most severely in the cases of Gerardo Hernandez and his wife Adriana Perez, and Rene Gonzalez and his wife Olga Salanueva. Both women have requested visas on seven occasions and each time the United States government has denied their requests. Denying these families the right to see each other is according to Amnesty International, which has repeatedly raised this issue with the U.S. government since 2002, “unnecessarily punitive and contrary to standards for humane treatment of prisoners and states’ obligations to protect family life.”
WHEREAS: On May 27, 2005, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Commission, issued its Conclusion that depriving these five Cubans of their liberty contravened Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, based on the conditions of their confinement including the long period in solitary confinement, the limitation of defense access to the potential evidence, and the conditions and location of the Miami trial, combined with “the severe sentences received”;
WHEREAS: In August 2005, a unanimous panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Miami trial of the Five was unfair and their convictions should be vacated based on a “perfect storm” of intense community hostility against anyone identified with the government of Cuba, combined with prosecutorial misconduct intended to inflame such passions. That opinion was subsequently vacated by the full 11th Circuit, which issued a ruling en banc one year later upholding the venue as being proper, and on August 20, 2007, remaining issues on appeal were again argued to a three judge panel;
WHEREAS: The NLG has previously called attention to these injustices, including a 2006 Convention NEC resolution resolving “to build a strong people’s movement through advocacy and media campaigns, and to advocate for a new and fair trial for the Cuban Five,” and a September 2007 request to the UN Commission on Human Rights to conduct an investigation into the failure of the U.S. government to honor the findings and conclusions of the UN Working Group;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the National Lawyers Guild’s 70th Convention reaffirms its commitment to fight for justice in this case, and specifically calls upon: A) the United States government to honor the more than two year old finding of the appropriate UN body, by either releasing these prisoners forthwith or providing them with a new trial; B) the UN and its Commission on Human Rights to investigate and publicize the lack of timely or meaningful compliance by the U.S. Government to date; C) the U.S. media to provide significant and reasonable coverage of this important case (and its implications for the so-called U.S. “war on terrorism”), which has so far been lacking; D) the U.S. government to approve visas promptly upon request of families so that they may enter the United States to visit the five prisoners on a regular basis; and E) human rights and peace organizations to review and address this case and to act appropriately in the cause of justice.
IMPLEMENTATION: This resolution is to be implemented by the NLG Cuba Subcommittee, the International Committee, and the NLG National Office, with the anticipated support of other committees and chapters to educate their members and the public about this case and its broader implications.
Submitted by: NLG Cuba Subcommittee (Art Heitzer, Chair, ); NLG Labor & Employment Committee, NLG National Office.

Nobel Prize winners and world intellectuals sign new call for the release of the Five

The Cuban chapter of the Defense of Humanity Network announced in Havana a new call for the release of the five anti-terrorist Cubans incarcerated for nine years with heavy sentences hanging over them.
Poet and novelist Roberto Fernández Retamar, president of Casa de las Américas, presented the document to the national and foreign press. It has already been signed by more than 245 public figures, including Nobel Literature Prize winners Wole Soyinka of Nigeria and Nadine Gordimer of South Africa; Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina; and Nobel Physics Prize winner Zhores Alfiorov of Russia; as well as artists and intellectuals, including 20 who are outstanding in U.S. political and cultural life.
"The Five, states the document, "have remained isolated in maximum security prisons under cruel conditions of imprisonment, in violation of their human rights and U.S. law itself."
"We add our voices to those of all people in the world who are demanding an immediate end to this enormous injustice. We must not give up our undertaking until the truth is heard and these men return to their country and their families," it concludes.
It should be recalled that a panel of three judges from the Court of Appeals in Atlanta unanimously declared invalid the rigged trial to which they were subjected in Miami and stated that the sentences should be revoked.
Subsequently that ruling was overturned in a divided vote by the full Court, and the result of the appeal on that decision is awaited.
The detention of the Five, who helped to monitor acts of terrorism organized against Cuba by ultra-right Cuban groups in Florida, was described as unjust by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
Relatives of the Five present at the meeting urged the international press to circulate the call. Maria Eugenia, the sister of Antonio Guerrero, affirmed that the wall of silence surrounding them is an additional sentence. (Lisanka González Suárez)

Text of the Document


For more than nine years now, five Cubans have remained imprisoned in the United States. On their shoulders rest lengthy convictions, resulting from a politicized trial held in the city of Miami. The Five were helping monitor the terrorist plans orchestrated against Cuba from Florida by far right-wing Cuban groups.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, attached to the UN’s former Commission on Human Rights, declared their detention to be arbitrary, and a three-judge panel, tasked with examining the case at the Atlanta Appeals Court, unanimously agreed to nullify the trial and instructed that the sentences delivered in Miami be repealed. Afterwards, in a split vote, the Court dismissed that decision; and the case is still going through the appeal process.
The Five have remained in isolation in maximum security prisons, under ruthless conditions of seclusion, in violation of their human rights and of the very laws of the United States. Two of them have been deprived of the right to be visited by their wives.
We join our voices to all those in the world that call for the immediate end to this enormous injustice. We must not give up on this endeavor until truth prevails and these men return to their homeland and to their families.

To sign :

U.S. appeals dismissal of case against Cuban militant Posada

by Alicia A. Caldwell

Nov. 6, 2007

Reprinted from AP

EL PASO, Texas: Prosecutors have appealed a federal judge's decision to dismiss an immigration fraud case against anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles.
The aging militant is wanted in Venezuela, where he is a naturalized citizen, on charges that he plotted the deadly 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner from Caracas.
Prosecutors filed the 73-page appeal Monday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The case against the former CIA operative and U.S. Army soldier was dismissed in May after U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso concluded that federal authorities used trickery, fraud and deceit in trying to pursue a criminal case against Posada. He was accused of lying on an application and during an interview to become a naturalized citizen.
Cardone also concluded that a translation of the interview "is so inaccurate as to render it unreliable as evidence of defendant's actual statements." Cardone said the government's actions were "so grossly shocking and so outrageous to violate the universal sense of justice."
Lawyers for the government argued in their appeal that Posada didn't meet his burden to prove that the government engaged trickery or deceit.
They also contended that Cardone "erred by imposing the extreme sanction of dismissal and by dismissing counts that had no relation to the naturalization interview."
Finally, prosecutors argued that government "deception or outrageous conduct" doesn't excuse Posada's alleged lies.
"The defendant was charged with crimes entirely separate from any activity that the government might have been investigating — making false statements during the naturalization interview itself," prosecutors wrote.
Rhonda A. Anderson, one of Posada's Florida lawyers, said she had received the appeal but had not reviewed the lengthy document.
Posada has been the subject of federal efforts to jail or deport him since he admitted sneaking into the United States from Mexico in 2005.
Though Posada faces a deportation order, he has been living in Miami since the case was dismissed.
An U.S. immigration judge in El Paso has ruled that he cannot be sent to his native Cuba or Venezuela because of the potential that he will be tortured in either country.
His release earlier this year sparked a series of protests around Latin America. The Bush administration has been accused by Cuba and Venezuela of harboring a terrorist.

Prosecutors appeal judge's dismissal of Posada case

by Jay Weaver

Nov. 6, 2007

Reprinted from The Miami Herald

Six months after losing a bitter legal battle with a one-time Cold Warrior, the Justice Department has appealed a Texas federal judge's dismissal of immigration fraud charges against Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles.
In May, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone threw out an indictment against Posada, 79, who was charged with lying about how he sneaked into the United States in 2005 during his application for citizenship.
Cardone also tossed out Posada's citizenship interview with immigration authorities, in which he said he crossed the Texas border to enter the country in March 2005. Authorities charged he came by boat from a Mexican island.
In her scathing dismissal in El Paso, the judge condemned the prosecution as a ''pretext'' for gathering alleged terrorist evidence on Posada, a former CIA-trained explosives expert. ''The government's tactics in this case are so grossly shocking and so outrageous as to violate the universal sense of justice,'' Cardone ruled.
In a 64-page brief filed Tuesday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, federal prosecutors said: ``Even if the district court were correct in its determination that the government acted improperly in conducting the interview, it erred in dismissing an indictment based on the defendant's false statements at that interview.''
Freed by Cardone's order in May, Posada returned to Miami, where he is staying at an undisclosed location.
© 2007 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.


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