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Free the Cuban Five NOW!

PICKET CALLED OF UNITED STATES CONSULATE, THURSDAY, JUNE 12, 4PM, 23 CUSTOMS ST AUCKLAND CBD

Organised by Global Peace and Justice Auckland and the Auckland Cuba Friendship Society

Why we are protesting:

Free the Cuban Five NOW!

Thursday's emergency protest is one of many being held in cities around the world, against last week’s court ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which upheld the convictions of the anti-terrorist activists known as the Cuban Five.

As their 10th year of imprisonment approaches on Sept. 12, supporters of the Cuban Five are demanding more energetically than ever that the Bush administration grant their immediate freedom.

WHO ARE THE CUBAN FIVE?

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González are five Cuban men who were engaged in a peaceful mission to stop Miami-based rightwing organizations from continuing to carry out terrorist attacks against Cuba.

The Cuban Five had infiltrated the Miami terrorist groups to monitor and prevent attacks. The Five harmed no one, they possessed no weapons, and they saved lives.

Instead of prosecuting the terrorists, the FBI arrested the Cuban Five on Sept. 12, 1998. They were placed in 17 months of solitary confinement, and the judge denied the defence attorneys’ motions to move the trial out of the politically-charged, anti-Cuba environment of Miami. In June 2001, in a gross miscarriage of justice, the Five were convicted on false charges of espionage conspiracy and other charges, and sentenced to four life sentences and 77 years collectively.

Last week's Court ruling ordered the re-sentencing of the life terms of Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino, and of the 19-year sentence of Fernando González. But it left intact all the convictions as well as the two life sentences of Gerardo Hernández and the 15-year sentence of René González. More appeals are planned in the future.

EXTRADITE THE TERRORIST POSADA CARRILES!

Just as outrageous as the railroading of the Cuban Five, is the complete impunity granted to the Miami terrorists by the U.S. government.

For almost 50 years, the anti-Cuba terrorist network in Miami has enjoyed an open and free reign of terror against Cuba. More than 3,400 Cuban people have died as a result of their terrorist attacks.

Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch are directly responsible for a long string of terrorist actions, including the murder of 73 passengers and crew in the mid-air bombing of a Cuban airliner in October 1976, using bombs that they fabricated and paid mercenaries to plant on the plane. Posada has openly admitted his role in the bombing of a Cuban hotel in 1997, which killed an Italian tourist,

Although the government of Venezuela has demanded Posada’s extradition since his illegal entry into the United States in March 2005, the Bush administration has refused to even reply to Venezuela’s extradition request. We demand that the U.S. extradite Posada Carriles to stand trial for his crimes.

See attachment below from the US National Lawyers Guild for more information

Mike Treen

GPJA, Auckland Cuba Friendship Society

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WE ASK FOR YOUR SUPPORT — HELP BRING JUSTICE FOR THE CUBAN FIVE

1. Visit www.freethefive.org and learn more about the Cuban Five and their struggle for freedom. Become active in the campaign, make a donation, organize an event.
2.

National Lawyers Guild Says Politics Motivated Decision In Cuban Five Case

Two Judges on Three-Judge Panel Uphold Conspiracy to Commit Murder Conviction Despite Government’s Lack of Evidence

June 5, 2008
Reprinted from National Lawyers Guild

New York. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) believes that politics influenced yesterday’s federal appeals court decision upholding the convictions of five Cuban patriots accused of spying in the United States. The so-called Cuban Five were gathering information on U.S.-based exile groups planning terrorist actions against their island nation.

The court did, however, vacate the sentences of three of the Five, including two serving life terms. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals returned the three cases to a federal judge in Miami for re-sentencing based on findings that the three men had gathered no classified information.

The full 11th Circuit court in August 2006 upheld the convictions of the Five: Gerardo Hernández , Fernando González , René González , Ramon Labañino, and Antonio Guerrero. It rejected claims that their federal trial should have been moved out of Miami because widespread opposition to the Cuban government among Cuban-Americans would make it impossible to get a fair and impartial jury.

In the appeal ruled on yesterday, the Five challenged rulings on the suppression of evidence from searches conducted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, sovereign immunity, discovery procedures, jury selection, prosecutorial and witness misconduct, jury instructions, sufficiency of the evidence to support their convictions, and sentencing.

In this latest decision, the panel voted 2-1 to affirm the life sentence for Gerardo Hernández, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of four Miami-based pilots shot down by Cuban jets in 1996. In her 16-page dissent, Judge Phyllis Kravich wrote that the government failed to present evidence sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hernández agreed to participate in a conspiracy to shoot down planes over international airspace, resulting in the deaths of four pilots from an anti-Castro organization, Brothers to the Rescue. The panel also affirmed Rene González's 15-year sentence for acting as a non-registered foreign agent and conspiracy to act as a non- registered foreign agent.

The panel vacated the life terms of Labañino and Guerrero, agreeing with their contentions that their sentences were improperly configured because no "top secret information was gathered or transmitted." The judges also vacated Fernando González's 19-year sentence because he was not a manager or supervisor of the network. The panel remanded these cases to the district court for re-sentencing.

After a trial that lasted six months, the Five were convicted in 2001 of acting as unregistered Cuban agents in the United States and of conspiracy to commit espionage for attempting to penetrate U.S. military bases. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit overturned the convictions in 2005, saying there should have been a change of venue. But the full court reversed that decision, 10-2.

"Conspiracy has always been the charge used by the prosecution in political cases," said NLG attorney Leonard Weinglass, who represents Guerrero. "In the case of the Five, the Miami jury was asked to find that there was an agreement to commit espionage. The government never had to prove that espionage actually happened. It could not have proven that espionage occurred. None of the Five sought or possessed any top secret information or US national defense secrets," Weinglass added. "The sentence for the conspiracy charge is the same as if espionage were actually committed and proven. That is how three got life sentences. The major charges in this case were all conspiracy related, the most serious being conspiracy to commit murder levied against Gerardo Hernández."

"Anti-Cuba sentiment has tainted all possibility of a fair trial for the Five since their original arrest and confinement, which the UN Rapporteur on Torture described as violating the Convention Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment," said NLG Executive Director Heidi Boghosian. "During the original trial, the Bush administration paid journalists to write unfavorable stories about Cuba. Anti-Cuban extremists tried to intimidate the jurors, and even prospective jurors admitted that they would be afraid to return not-guilty verdicts against the Five."

"For nearly 50 years, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based in Miami have engaged in countless terrorist activities against Cuba," said NLG President Marjorie Cohn. "In the face of this terrorism, the Cuban Five were gathering intelligence in Miami in order to prevent future terrorist acts against Cuba."

Founded in 1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association, which did not admit people of color, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.


ENDS

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