Friday, April 1, 2011

259. Alarcon: Obama Should Drop False Charges against the Cuban Five

By Radio Cadena Agramonte, March 31, 2011
Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon reasserted on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama should drop false charges against the Cuban Five and release them.

During the Round Table aired by Cuban radio and television, Alarcon, also a Politburo member, informed about the procedures currently used in favor of the antiterrorists, imprisoned for over 12 years now for crimes they didn’t commit.

Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez were arrested on September 12, 1998, and subjected to a politicized trial in Miami, which concluded in 2001 with unjustified sentences.

In the exercise of their right to defend their homeland, these Cubans reported criminal actions planned by anti-Cuban extremist groups operating in south Florida with Washington’s consent.

Alarcon pointed out that this week he met with former U.S. President James Carter during his stay in Cuba, along with relatives of the Five, with the release of which the visitor agreed, and the outstanding work of later lawyer Leonard Weinglass was recalled.

He referred to the victory won by
Weinglass in his defense of the Five in August 2005, which raised the issue of the unconstitutionality of the trial in Miami due to the interference of the US government and the bias of the press against the defendants in an environment of terrorism and threats.  

Alarcon said that, in accordance with procedures currently in force, documents of collateral appeal were presented in the cases of Antonio Guerrero and Gerardo Hernandez, the only option of a defendant after going through all levels of the U.S. legal system.

The appeal, taking aspects not analyzed during the original trial as a starting point, requests the annulment, proscription or correction of the trials originally carried out against the Five on the basis of manipulation of evidence.

Alarcon added that in 2006 information was known in the United States, according to which the federal government had paid tens of thousands of dollars to the journalists that carried out that illegal campaign.

He specified that the U.S. government excluded an important part of the evidence that could have benefited the defendants —it still hides it— and organized a real media plot against them by way of media outlets in Miami.

In the case of Antonio Guerrero —his original sentence was life imprisonment plus 10 years and that was later on modified to 30 years—, a memorandum requesting the annulment of the trial was presented explaining that, on the occasion of the trial against him, the U.S. government, far from providing all the evidence it had, manipulated and distorted it.

Alarcon cited details on the evidence of malfeasance, which have come to the surface, and pointed out that the memorandum includes names of reporters in charge of distorting facts to influence the public opinion against the Cuban Five, in Miami and abroad, and the amounts of money given to them.

In the case of Gerardo Hernandez, sentenced to two life terms plus 15
years, Alarcon recalled that an affidavit was brought forward on March 16 at the court of Florida’s southern district, in support of the motion requesting to ban, reject or correct the trial and the 28 U.S.C. 2255 sentence in question.

Hernandez offers details on the circumstances that invalidated him to adequately exert his defense in the original trial for charges of conspiracy to commit murder, referred to the incident of 1996 on the shooting down of light aircrafts that violated Cuban airspace.

He underlined that the US government has refused to present the images available, which would show the veracity of the facts pointed out.

Gerardo requests permission to demonstrate the erroneous interpretations made in this regard by the district attorney on the evidence, thus giving the jury the possibility of knowing the truth.

Lastly, Alarcon reiterated that the cause of the Cuban Five, regardless of legal procedures, is won on the streets, as Weinglass used to say, by promoting solidarity with the truth about the case of the Cuban patriots.

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