Justice for the Five once again denied

RENÉ González Sehwerert, one of Cuba’s five anti-terrorist heroes, will be released from prison October 7 having served in full the brutal and unjust sentence he was given.

On September 16, South Florida District Judge Joan A. Lenard denied a motion submitted by René on February 16, 2011 requesting that he be allowed to return to Cuba and be reunited with his wife, daughters and parents. He has been unjustly obliged to remain in the United States for three years of probation.

This decision, after 13 years of incarceration, constitutes a deliberate additional penalty, motivated by the same desires for political revenge which characterized the original judicial procedures which led to the conviction of the Five in 2001. Standing behind this decision is the United States government which for years has supported terrorism against Cuba, protecting organizations and individuals – within its territory – responsible for the deaths, suffering, pain and suffering of thousands of Cubans.

Since 1998, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González have been subjected to unusually cruel and degrading treatment. They have withstood pressure and abuse, including separation from their loved ones, with admirable integrity, never wavering in their principles, character or behavior as model prisoners.

The judge’s response to René’s motion is in no way justified and makes no sense. It is presumed that he must remain in the United States where clearly his life will be endangered, and where the most prominent anti-Cuban terrorist individuals and organizations are located.

In her response, the judge reconfirmed the sentence imposed on René in 2001 which included the absurd special and additional stipulation that, upon his release from prison, he is prohibited from “associating with or visiting specific places where individuals or groups such as terrorists, members of organizations advocating violence or organized crime figures are known to frequent.” One must ask how it is possible to comply with this stipulation if René is obliged to reside precisely “where individuals or groups such as terrorists are known to frequent.” One must ask as well, although the answer is obvious, what motivates the United States and its legal system to require in a legal document the protection of “individuals or groups such as terrorists” located within its national territory.

Although it is impossible to undo the injustice after so many years of unwarranted imprisonment and political attacks, the only minimally decorous action the government of the United States could take at this point would be to grant René permission to immediately return to Cuba, to put an end to the vengeful sentences imposed on Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio and Fernando, and to allow the return of all Five to their homeland.

The cause of the Cuban Five is known throughout the entire world. There is a wealth of information, argumentation and legal evidence which demonstrates the arbitrary nature of the proceedings which led to their convictions and sentencing. Also widely recognized is the especially abusive treatment in prison these innocent men have received: extended periods of time in solitary confinement, lack of communication, psychological torture, unjustified family separation, limited contact with legal representatives and the denial of visits by mothers, wives and daughters.

The people of Cuba deeply appreciate all the people and groups who have added their voices to the demand that this injustice end,stateleaders and government officials, as well as renowned figures who have publicly or privately advocated for the freedom of the Five.

It is imperative that we emphatically demand that no further injustice be committed; that no additional punishment be imposed on René, putting his life in danger; that his wife and daughters not be forced to continue living without him and that the opportunistic policy of protecting known terrorists – and aggravating the complicity of the U.S. government – be abandoned.

The cause of Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René is the irrevocable cause of the Cuban people. It is a commitment made by an entire people to end the injustice which the Five have suffered and an indication of their loyalty to those who have defended the homeland with great courage and sacrifice. Our efforts will not end until we see the Five home, in their land once again, with their loved ones and their people.

 

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