Elio Delgado Legón
HAVANA TIMES — The International Investigative Commission on the Case of the Cuban Five, which convened in London on March 7 and 8th, relying on the participating of prestigious jurists and personalities from around the world and arriving at important conclusions, constitutes an important part of efforts aimed at securing the release of the Cuban anti-terrorist activists who continue to serve prison sentences in the United States.
Though the final report has not yet been made public, the Commission has published a series of preliminary conclusions which reveal its interest in divulging the case, a case which the major media have completely silenced. In these conclusions, the commission urges the government of the United States to acknowledge the right of the Cuban Five, dealt harsh convictions for crimes that were never proven, to a fair trial.
Two of the five Cubans convicted, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez [no relation], have been released and are back in Cuba, after serving their unjust sentences. Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Gerardo Hernandez, who was given two life sentences plus 15 years, are still imprisoned in the United States.
The commission expressed its concerns regarding whether the accused were given the full benefit of the fundamental human right to a fair trial before an impartial State or independent court, a right that has been universally recognized under the International Civil and Political Rights Convention.
Their concerns are based on the following facts:
a. all five Cuban Nationals were placed in solitary confinement for about seventeen months before the trial began;
b. none of them have had sufficient access to documents relevant to the trial and necessary for the adequate preparation of a defense;
c. the opportunity to consult with their legal representatives was, in all the circumstances, less than sufficient;
d. the trial was held in a part of Miami, Florida where, according to three respected judges of the Eleventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, a fair trial could not be guaranteed;
e. Serious allegations have been made that the United States Government paid the media to ensure prejudicial publicity against these persons both before and during the trial;
In their preliminary report, the group of jurists and public figures meeting in London made a series of suggestions for action of which I will only mention some:
1. According to all the judgments not one of these persons either committed or intended to commit any act of violence.
2. No conduct of any of these persons was aimed at the United States of America or its Government. The Cuban Five gathered information aimed at preventing privately-inspired violence and other anti-Cuban action emanating from United States soil.
3. The perception of the Cuban Five, indeed their firm belief, that the United States Government was not doing enough to stem violent anti-Cuban action from United States soil.
4. There is no doubt at all that hundreds of compatriots and countrymen who were ordinary citizens of Cuba have died in unacceptably horrendous circumstances as a result of the actions of Cubans opposed to the Castro government in Cuba from United States soil. The families of the deceased would have suffered immeasurably.
This point (4) was quite an understatement. There have been around three thousand deaths and another more than three thousand injured and mutilated as a consequence of terrorist actions committed by groups based in the United States, without the government of that country doing anything to stop them.
And the Commission adds:
5. It is urged that the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States is a laudable and achievable goal, in the interests of both the United States of America and the Republic of Cuba, and that the generous grant of pardons by the President of the United States of America to the people who have been described as the Cuban Five will contribute immeasurably to the achievement of this vitally important purpose.
6. The President of the United States is also respectfully informed of the prevailing reasonable view that it is important to signal that the achievement of fairness and justice is not the preserve of the judiciary alone of any country, but, ultimately, a vital political responsibility that must be embraced when the moment comes.
7. It is suggested, with the greatest of respect, that the grant of these pardons will have a significant impact on world justice and world peace.
I think it unnecessary to add any comments. I too hope justice will finally be made.