They shouldn’t have been deprived of their freedom even for one second

by Elson Concepción Pérez

RICARDO Alarcón de Quesada, president of the Cuban Parliament, stated last night that the Five should not have been deprived of freedom even for one second, and that the re-sentencing of three of them (Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and Antonio Guerrero – the last in October) is an additional argument for continuing and intensifying the struggle for the immediate release of the Gerardo and his four comrades.

On learning the new sentences that reduced Ramón’s prison term from life to 30 years, and Fernando’s from 19 years to 17 years and nine months, Alarcón stated that while lengthy sentences are being imposed on our compañeros, self-confessed terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles are at liberty, because the U.S. government is continuing to violate the law and international treaties.

President Obama is under the obligation to bring Posada to justice by extraditing him to Venezuela or by trying him in a U.S. criminal court. “There is no other legal action,” the member of the Political Bureau argued.

NOW IT’S OBAMA’S TURN TO ACT

Speaking on the “Roundtable” television program, Alarcón emphasized that, in case of the Five, the U.S. government – which has to recognize that international pressure is growing and that it feels that fire – could not have imagined that it would satisfy us with reductions of sentences to 30 years, which is, in fact, a life term.

He insisted that it is now up to Obama, ” who is aware that they were unjustly sentenced,” adding that he also knows that even the Bush government could not prove the most infamous charge against Gerardo.

He recalled that this has been a trial plagued by irregularities, from the initial charges to the sentencing, and that the U.S. government knows that these compañeros did not cause harm to anybody. All they did was to contribute to the peace, security, and freedom of their people as well as that of U.S. citizens.

He explained that in the case of Ramón Labañino, the 30-year prison term is the minimum sentence that could be handed down in line with the guidelines applicable to the crimes of which he was convicted.

He also stated that, while any punishment for these men is unjust, the reduction of the sentences is still important because it should change the conditions of their imprisonment.

He highlighted that the most important thing is that, today, it is not only the defense stating that the trial was plagued by errors, but the current U.S. government itself has also had to acknowledge that fact.

“All of this has come about within an unjust scenario, and thus they should never have been punished,” Alarcón concluded.

Translated by Granma International

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