HAVANA TIMES — The US government is set release Cuban Five member Fernando Gonzalez on February 27, after serving over 15 years in prison, reported the El Nuevo Herald from Miami on Wednesday.
According to the Miami newspaper, that same day Gonzalez will be transferred “to an immigration jail pending his deportation to Cuba.”
Gonzalez, 50, is serving a sentence of 17 years in prison for failing to register as a foreign agent and possessing forged identity documents. He and the other four Cubans were arrested in 1998 and convicted in 2001, noted dpa news.
Gonzalez was originally sentenced to 19 years in prison, but in an appeal it was reduced to 17. His early release for good behavior will come when he has spent 15 years, five months and 15 days in prison.
Another of the Cuban Five, Rene Gonzalez, completed his prison sentence in October 2011 and now lives in Cuba since May of last year. The other convicts are serving longer sentences.
One of them, Gerardo Hernandez, was sentenced to double life imprisonment for conspiracy to commit the murder of four men who died when their planes were shot down by Cuban MiG aircraft.
The agents are considered “heroes” by the government of Cuba. They were arrested in 1998 and convicted of being members of the larger “Wasp Network” of Cuban intelligence in the United States. Havana argues that the agents were only seeking to prevent attacks on the island by radical Cuban exile groups based in Miami and environs.
The case of the Cuban Five is one of the thorniest in the difficult relations between Washington and Havana. The US broke off diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1961, two years after the triumph of the Fidel Castro led revolution.