Archive for September 2nd, 2013

Letter sent to Obama for the Cuban Five

September 2, 2013

Mr President Obama September 1st, 2013
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington DC 20500

Mr President,

It’s been fifteen years now since the five Cubans Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino and René González, were arrested in Miami. Fifteen years of injustice that you are in position to wipe away with a simple signature !
All over the world, including in your own country, citizens who are concerned with human rights are demanding their release.
Alexandre Zourabichvili, who is a lawyer as well as a Doctor of International and European Rights, is indignant with the grave injustice that the Cuban Five have been subjected to. Here are large extracts of what he wrote on December 18th, 2010 in “le Grand Soir”. This was three years ago, but his words continue to be topical, even if the situation has evaluated with the release, last May, of René González.
“(…) The five Cubans had been judged by a Miami court, the city where the staff headquarters of the organizations they infiltrated is situated and where these organizations have at hand powerful networks of influence. These networks have exercised pressure – including through the medium of the local press – on the juries; biased selection of jury members, their license plate numbers shown on television etc.
(…) The sentences pronounced were extremely heavy considering the lack of proof for the crimes attributed to them (conspiracy of attempted spying, conspiracy of attempting to committing murder).
(…) Several U.S. Army generals, appearing as witnesses, had nevertheless testified to the absence of espionage in this case, a fact that the Pentagon later confirmed. “Conspiring to spy” as the principal charge was chosen purposely, as this permitted the judge to limit access to the case file for the defense lawyers and also permitted the accusation to not be required to produce material proofs; the element of intentionality was sufficient for constituting the crime.
On the base of these elements, in 2005, a group of experts on arbitrary detention from the UN, had called for a revision of the trial and the liberation of the Cuban Five, which brought about, in the same year, a panel of three judges from the Appeals Court of the 11th Circuit Court of Atlanta that annulated the sentences and ordered a new trial in a place neutral this time, a decision that rests on American judicial precedents themselves concerning a change of where the trial takes place. But this did not take into count the furious reaction of Alberto Gonzalez, George Bush’s famous Attorney General, who demanded that this decision be revised by a new panel of 12 judges. In 2006, these judges annulated the precedent panel’s decision and confirmed the Miami court’s initial decision.
(…) After several sudden new judicial developments, the Cuban Five’s lawyers brought the case before the United States Supreme Court in 2009, resting their arguments on several “Amicus Curiae” coming from numerous countries all over the world, among which the French Association of Jurists “Droit Solidarité”. Ten Nobel Peace Prize laureates were also mobilized. The rejection, without motivation, by the Supreme Court, of the demand for the reconsideration of the case was criticized by an Amnesty International report that brought out the fact that the United States justice system does not apply the same criteria for the five Cubans as it does in other cases, notably concerning the change of place where the trial takes place, and also the lack of equal terms between the defense and the prosecution.
With the different violations of defense rights for the Cuban Five evoked earlier, the United States justice system gives a bad image of itself to the rest of the world, that of a justice system manipulated at will by Mafia-ring politics and by an executive power always ready to punish Cubans that are loyal to independence and to the political and social systems of their country.
Let us take note that the United States justice system has kept locked up in prison for 12 years now these five Cubans who came to Miami to fight against terrorist attacks being prepared against their country whereas this same justice system refuses to this day to pursue, to incarcerate and to extradite Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch*. (…) Does not this incoherent comportment on the part of the United States concerning the anti-terrorist struggle involve it, from a legal point of view, in their international responsibility towards Resolution 1373 of the United Nations Security Council (voted on September 28th 2001 after the attacks on September 11th)?
Last June, the Cuban Five’s lawyers presented demands for habeas corpus before the Federal District Court of Miami based on new elements indicating, for example, that a dozen local newspaper reporters covering this case received payments on the part of the United States government. But the eyes of those defending the Cuban Five and the United States civil society organizations, those of Cuba and others are turning more and more towards President Obama who could, if he wanted to, use his right to pardon.”
Mr President, by giving these Cubans back their liberty, you would be acting in the sense of justice, making possible new relations between your country and Cuba.
Please receive, Mr President, the expression of my most sincere humanitarian sentiments.

* Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Boch, among other acts of terrorism, were the brains behind the terrorist attack of October 6th 1976 against the “Cubana de Aviación” plane that caused 73 victims. Orlando Bosch died in 2011. 

Jacqueline Roussie
64360 Monein (France).

Translated by William Peterson

Copies sent to: Mrs. Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kathryn Ruemmler, Janet Napolitano, to Mr. Joe Biden, John F. Kerry, Harry Reid, Eric Holder, Denis MacDonough, Pete Rouse, Rick Scott, and Charles Rivkin, United States Ambassador in France.


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