Resolution adopted by the participants to the ColapV Side Event: Symposium on International Solidarity with Cuba (Sept, 19,2010, SMX, Pasay City, Philippines)

On September 12, 1998, five Cuban men, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez (Cuban 5 for brevity) were arrested by the FBI and arbitrarily detained for the next 17 months in solitary confinement before they were even brought to a Miami court.  They were falsely accused of conspiracy to commit espionage among others.

Despite the written admission by the US government prosecutors that it had failed to prove the main charge of conspiracy to commit murder against Gerardo Hernandez and that there are insurmountable obstacles in winning the case, the Miami jury wrongly convicted them due to local media pressure.

The subcommittee of the Human Rights Committee of the UN (the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention) issued an opinion that the venue violated international norms of due process and urged the US to move the case to another venue.  The US government did not concede.

The Cuban 5 appealed and in August 2005, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit Court revoked all of the convictions on the basis of lack of fair trial in Miami. A year later, this judgment of acquittal was reversed by the same court with twelve judges sitting en banc, by majority vote.

The US Supreme Court was asked to review the Court of Appeals decision, with widespread support from the international community including Nobel laureates, parliamentarians and legal and academic organizations,  who submitted 12 amicus curiae briefs.  The Supreme Court, ignoring international clamour, refused to review the Court of Appeals decision without stating any reason and the prisoners are now serving two life sentences and 98 years collectively, for a crime that has not been established by evidence but by mere local media opinion.

Newly discovered evidence has revealed however that during the Miami hearing of the Cuban 5, the US government was secretly paying local journalists to engage in propaganda against Cuba and the five Cubans through Radio and TV Marti, which tended to guarantee convictions.

All through their inhumane and unjust imprisonment, two of the Cuban 5, Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez were never even allowed visitation by their respective spouses who were denied entry permit into US territory.

We find that the Cuban 5 have suffered imprisonment and unjust treatment for too long based on false and unsubstantiated charges. They should be freed immediately and their jailers and false accusers are the ones who should be brought to justice.

We consider the cruel and draconian treatment of the Cuban 5 as part of the continuing US imperialist aggression against Cuba and its people in the latter’s struggle for socialism and self-determination.

We call on the COLAP and all progressive lawyers, judges and associations gathered here today to demand the immediate release of the Cuban 5.

We propose to the IADL and all lawyers and jurist associations in attendance to establish the appropriate mechanism among their ranks to pursue concrete legal actions in support of this cause.

We challenge the international community to express their unified sense in condemning the US attacks on Cuba and its people.

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