Atlanta Court rejects appeal of Cuban Five anti-terrorist case
by Lilliam Riera
THE 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on September 2 denied the defense’s request for a hearing to reconsider the case of the five anti-terrorist Cubans, who will have spent a decade of illegal incarceration in the United States on September 12.
In a news conference in Havana with the national and foreign press, Ricardo Alarcón, president of the Cuban Parliament, said that this Appeals Court refusal to reconsider the case is once again a result of injustice and terrorism. It ratifies and enforces a decision made by a three-judge panel from that same court on June 4 this year.
That decision upheld the convictions of all five Cubans and the sentences of two of them, Gerardo Hernández (two life terms plus 15 years) and René González (15 years). The sentences of the other three — Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González — were overturned, and federal court Judge Joan Lenard in Miami is to initiate a process to issue new sentences for the three.
Alarcón announced that the Five’s defense team will now appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court; they have until December 1 to do so.
"We are seeking the return of each and every one of them, independently of their situation," Alarcón emphasized.
Alarcón said this latest decision creates a new framework for the International Action Days in Solidarity with the Five, which begin September 12. He urged Cubans and non-Cubans to mobilize and raise awareness about the cause of these anti-terrorists based on knowing the truth about their case.
When the general public in the United States is finally allowed to learn the true facts, it will be possible to achieve the liberation of the Five, he affirmed.
On September 12, 1998, the Five — Heroes of the Republic of Cuba — were arrested in an FBI operation as they were monitoring right-wing anti-Cuban extremists. The Five were doing so to prevent acts of terrorism against the island from southern Florida with the backing of the White House.
Cuba to appeal spy case to U.S. Supreme Court
by Jeff Franks
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba said on Thursday it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court part of a lower court decision against five Cuban agents who have been imprisoned nearly 10 years on espionage charges.
Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon said lawyers would ask the nation's highest court to reverse a decision upholding sentences against two of the men, one sent to prison for 15 years and the other for life.
"We're going to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, to the World Court, to the interplanetary court ... to fight against this infamy," he said in a news conference.
Alarcon, point man for Cuba's U.S. policy, said the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia, had denied Cuba's most recent attempt to have the convictions overturned.
The sentences for the other three agents were earlier found to be excessive and sent back to a lower court for review, which the Cubans will not appeal.
The men, known in Cuba as the "Five Heroes," were sent to the United States to infiltrate exile groups opposed to the Cuban government, then led by Fidel Castro.
In 1998, they were arrested and accused of being unregistered agents of the Cuban government, and in one case of conspiring to murder members of the exile group, Brothers to the Rescue.
In February 1996, Cuban fighter jets shot down two private planes belonging to the Brothers to the Rescue that were flying near Cuba. Four men in the planes were killed.
The five defendants, tried together in Miami, received sentences ranging from 15 years to life in prison.
Cuba has argued that the men were agents trying to stop "terrorist" attacks and that they did not receive a fair trial in Miami, center of the exile community that fled after Castro took power in a 1959 revolution.
Alarcon said demonstrations would be held in Cuba and around the world, including the United States, on September 12, which he said would mark the 10th anniversary of the men's time in prison.
Rechaza Corte de Atlanta apelación en caso de Los Cinco antiterroristas cubano
por Lilliam Riera
La Corte de Apelaciones del XI Circuito de Atlanta denegó el pasado dos de septiembre las solicitudes de reconsideración sobre el caso de Los Cinco antiterroristas cubanos que el próximo 12 de septiembre cumplirán una década de ilegal prisión en EE.UU.
Rechaza Corte de Atlanta apelación en caso de Los Cinco antiterroristas cubanosEn rueda de prensa en La Habana ante corresponsales nacionales y extranjeros, el presidente del Parlamento cubano, Ricardo Alarcón, consideró que con esta negativa la Corte de Apelaciones de Atlanta se prestó, una vez más, a la injusticia y al terrorismo.
Con ello se ratifica y entra en vigor la decisión adoptada por un panel de tres magistrados el cuatro de junio de este año.
Además de confirmar los veredictos de culpabilidad de Los Cinco y las sentencias contra Gerardo Hernández (dos cadenas perpetuas más 15 años) y René González (15 años), la jueza Joan Lenard, de la Corte de Miami, puede iniciar el proceso para dictar nuevas sentencias a Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero y Fernando González.
Alarcón anunció que los abogados de la defensa apelarán ahora al Tribunal Supremo de Estados Unidos, para lo cual tienen un plazo hasta el primero de diciembre del 2008.
Nosotros buscamos el regreso de todos y cada uno de ellos, independientemente de la situación en que se encuentren, destacó el Presidente del Parlamento cubano.
Alarcón señaló que esta nueva decisión coloca a la Jornada Mundial de Solidaridad con Los Cinco, que comenzará el 12 de septiembre, en un nuevo contexto y exhortó a cubanos y no cubanos a movilizarse y hacer conciencia sobre la causa de los antiterroristas, a partir del conocimiento de la verdad del caso.
Cuando finalmente se le permita a la opinión pública de Estados Unidos conocer los hechos, se podrá lograr la liberación de Los Cinco, aseguró.
El 12 de septiembre de 1998 estos Héroes de la República de Cuba fueron aprehendidos por un operativo del Buró Federal de Investigaciones, cuando monitoreaban a grupos de la extrema derecha anticubana para prevenir a la Isla de acciones terroristas fomentadas con el apoyo de la Casa Blanca desde el Sur de la Florida.