World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Free the Five

International Commission in London calls on Obama to free the Five

On March 7 and 8, expert witnesses, attorneys and family members of the Cuban Five, gave powerful testimony before an audience of 250 people at the prestigious Law Society in central London, to argue for the immediate freedom of the three Cuban Five members still in U.S. prison.

René González was scheduled as the key witness but the British government denied him a visa, telling him that as an ex-prisoner who served more than four years in prison, it was sufficient grounds to deny entry into England.

That was precisely the reason he needed to come to London, to explain how each day of his more than 13 years of prison was wrongly imposed! Still, René's truth rang through the hall as the judge-commissioners and audience listened intently to him via Skype.

The Commissioners were: Zakeria Mohammed Yacoob, former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; Philippe Texier, former Judge, French Court de Cassation; and Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal, former Chief Justice of India. Presiding were Professor Sara Chandler, Chair, Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales; and Elizabeth Woodcraft, attorney and author, of Great Britain.

Cuban Five attorneys Phil Horowitz and Martin Garbus, gave details of the egregious denial of the Five's rights to a fair trial by the U.S. government's misconduct and poisoned political atmosphere in Miami. Garbus also presented a 558-page document to the Commissioners outlining the U.S. government's illegal and secret payments to prominent Miami reporters who worked to condemn the Five through their highly prejudicial coverage. The document is a product of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five's research of the last five years, and contains Garbus's important affidavit on behalf of Gerardo. Gerardo Hernández's affidavit of his innocence on the false conviction for murder conspiracy is also included. Attorney Peter Schey spoke of the U.S. government's refusal to produce vital satellite images of the shoot-down of Brothers to the Rescue planes on Feb. 24, 1996. The shoot-down was falsely pinned on Gerardo Hernández and is the reason he is serving a draconian double-life sentence.

A women's panel on the second day of the Commission, coincided with International Women's Day, and emphasized the hardships that the mothers, wives and children of the Five have endured, and their supreme dedication to their loved ones' freedom. Featured were Irmita González, daughter of René; renowned author Alice Walker; Diana Holland, Assistant Gen'l Secretary of UNITE union; Mirta Rodríguez, mother of Antonio Guerrero; and Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples. Olga Salanueva, wife of René González, Elizabeth Palmeiro, wife of Ramón Labañino, and Adriana Pérez, wife of Gerardo Hernández, gave moving testimony in other sessions.

Among the many others who spoke were family members of victims of anti-Cuba terrorism, Margarita Morales, whose father died in the 1976 bombing of Cubana flight 455 (73 people were murdered by terrorists Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch), Betina Corcho, whose mother, a Cuban diplomat, was murdered by a terrorist bomb directed against Cuba in Portugal, and Roberto Hernández Caballero, investigator of terrorist crimes committed against Cuba. Former Cuban National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcón, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and vice-president of Europe's Parliament Miguel Angel Martínez headed a panel.

A grand concert Friday night highlighted famed Cuban musicians Eliades Ochoa and Omara Portuondo. Alice Walker and other personalities filled Barbican Hall. A closing dinner on Saturday gave recognition to convenors and organizers Cuba Solidarity Campaign and the Belgian organization Iniciativa Cuba Socialista, and to British unions UNITE and UNISON, among others.

A preliminary conclusion was read at the conclusion of the Commission, to resounding applause and standing ovation. The final report will be sent to President Barack Obama. Congratulations to the organizers and everyone involved for this vitally important event!

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid-19: WHO Reports Largest Single Day Increase In Cases

The World Health Organization ( WHO ) reported the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases over the course of Sunday, registering more than 183,000 new infections in 24 hours, bringing the total to some 8.8 million cases worldwide, with more than ... More>>

China: National Security Law Must Not Become A Weapon Of Fear

Responding to today’s passing of a national security law for Hong Kong by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, the head of Amnesty International’s China Team, Joshua Rosenzweig, said: 'The passing of the national ... More>>

UN: Syrians ‘face Unprecedented Hunger Amid Impending COVID Crisis’

© UNICEF/Delil Souleiman | A young boy photographed at Al-Hol refugee camp in the northeastern desert of Syria. (July 2019) Syrian communities devastated by years of civil war now face an “unprecedented” hunger crisis, just as urgent action ... More>>

Israel/OPT: Annexation Plan Promotes ‘Law Of The Jungle’ And Must Be Stopped

The Israeli authorities must immediately abandon plans to further 'annex' territory in the occupied West Bank which breach international laws and exacerbate decades of systematic human rights violations against Palestinians there, Amnesty ... More>>