Individuals and political organizations opposing the half - century old U.S. economic blockade against Cuba have joined in sponsoring this petition to President Obama. We are asking him to free the Cuban Five prisoners. Our “Pardon for the Five” group is also distributing a print version of the petition.
When arrested over 12 years ago, the five Cuban men were monitoring private paramilitary groups in Florida engaged in organizing anti-Cuban terrorist assaults. They provided their government with advanced notice of preparations for attacks. Their trial on a variety of charges, discredited by bias, ended in convictions and long, cruel sentences. For more information see this "fact sheet" on their case.
We are timing release of the petition to coincide with the approaching end of the prisoners’ appeals process and with an appeal by Amnesty International on their behalf to the U.S. government in October, 2010. Amnesty International asked Attorney General Eric Holder to consider clemency for the Cuban Five. The human rights group at the time issued a comprehensive report on the case, which highights U.S. judicial and prosecutorial failings.
Our group Pardon for the Five views Amnesty International's initiative as a positive step. Based upon human rights and the rule of law, the AI appeal has potential for gaining support from a broad segment of the population. The petition on that account incorporates language drawn from the Amnesty International appeal.
Pardon for the Five sees this petition as contributing to a campaign of building awareness of the Cuban Five and their case among the general public. For more information, see: www.antiterroristas.cu, www.freethefive.org, and www.thecuban5.org .
THE LETTER which will be sent to Pres. Obama FOLLOWS BELOW:
Dear Mr. President,
In 1998, five Cuban men – Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, and René González – were arrested on serious charges while monitoring extremist anti-Cuba groups in southern Florida. Tried in Miami in 2001, they received sentences adding up collectively to four life sentences plus 77 years. They have nearly exhausted their appeals.
Amnesty International recently expressed "serious doubts about the fairness and impartiality of their trial.” In its appeal to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, that group stated: “No evidence was presented against them at trial to show that the accused had actually handled or transmitted a single classified document or piece of information.”
Amnesty International cited the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that in 2005 judged U.S. judicial shortcomings to be “of such gravity that they confer the deprivation of liberty of these five persons an arbitrary character.”
Amnesty International is now seeking “review of the case by the US executive authorities through the clemency process or other appropriate means.”
I respectfully call upon you and your administration to take prompt action leading to the release of the Five Cuban prisoners and their return to Cuba.