International figures call for freedom for five Cubans imprisoned in the United States for 15 years

by kristine karch

PRESS RELEASE: 30.10.2013

 

International figures call for freedom for five Cubans imprisoned in the United States for 15 years

 

John Le Carré, Ricardo Alarcon, Emma Thompson, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, Lord Rowan Williams, Fernando Morais, Noam Chomsky, Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Günter Grass have joined other international personalities in support of Voices for the Five, an international coalition calling for justice and freedom for five Cubans imprisoned in the United States.

 

Voices for the Five, launched today, brings together supporters from the arts, media, legal, NGO and campaigning organisations calling for justice and freedom for the Miami Five – five Cubans arrested in 1998 while attempting to prevent terrorist attacks against the Cuban people by groups within the USA. Human rights and legal groups have raised questions about the fairness of the trial and Amnesty International has condemned the treatment of the Five as “contrary both to the standards for the humane treatment of prisoners and to a state’s obligation to protect family life”.


On 7-8 March 2014, a major two day Commission of Inquiry into the Case of the Miami Five will convene a panel of internationally renowned commissioners drawn from legal, human rights, political and academic backgrounds and organisations at the Law Society in London as part of the Voices for the Five initiative.


The Commission will hear testimony from René González Sehwerert, the first and only member of the Five to have been released after completing his 15 year sentence. He will be joined by family members, victims of terrorism against Cuba, lawyers, politicians and campaigners from Cuba and across the world.

 

A full list of endorsers and video messages from international supporters of the Miami Five can be found at www.voicesforthefive.com.  The website calls on people across the globe to sign up online with messages, photos and videos to add their support to the hundreds of international figures already involved. 

 

Ricardo Alarcón, former Cuban representative to United Nations

“I believe that all those who can participate in, or support in any way, this International Commission of Inquiry, should do so”

 

Michael Mansfield QC, says

“I am delighted to endorse the Inquiry into the case of the Miami Five to be held in London next March. It will serve as an expression of truth and conscience by the people for the people. Politicians cannot be trusted to undertake such an exercise”

 

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of the million strong public sector union UNISON says

“UNISON has been part of the movement for 15 years to get justice for the Cuban Five who were wrongly imprisoned all those years ago. We are also part of the International Commission of Inquiry which will be looking into this case in the spring of next year. We will not rest until we win full support for the Cuban Five.”

 

Irmita González, eldest daughter of René González Sehwerert says

 “I was only 14 when my dad got arrested and I am 29 now. I have been growing up in the middle of this battle. It’s too long. It’s time for it to end and for my uncles to come back to their families, their life and their country, because they are people who have fought against the harm that has been done to Cuba for many years. They should be free and we need them back.”


Ends

 

Notes to editors:

 

1. The two day Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Miami Five will convene a group of internationally renowned commissioners drawn from legal, human rights, political and academic backgrounds and organisations. They will hear first hand evidence from witnesses about their personal experiences of terrorism against Cuba, the arrest, the trial, legal appeals and the treatment and sentencing of the Miami Five. This public event and will run concurrently with a full programme of rallies, concerts, exhibitions, screenings, media and cultural events to reach out to the widest audience as possible and generate increased international support and awareness for the cause of justice for the Five.

 

2. Endorsers include

Noam Chomsky, US academic and activist

Julie Christie, Actor

Ramsey Clark, Former US Attorney General

Günter Grass, Nobel Prize for Literature

Martin Garbus, lawyer for the Five, EEUU

Mariela Castro Espín, Director CENESEX

John Le Carré, novelist, UK

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate

Michael Mansfield QC, UK legal

Phil Manzanera, musician, Roxy Music

Len McCluskey, General secretary Unite the union

Dave Prentis, General Secretary UNISON

Emma Thompson, actor

Adriana Pérez O'Connor, wife of Gerardo Hernández

Maxine Peake, actor                       

Alice Walker, US author

Dame Vivienne Westwood, international fashion designer

Lord Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury

 

Full list can be found at www.voicesforthefive.com

 

3. The International Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban Five will be on 7-8 March 2014, The Law Society, Chancery Lane, London

 

4. The Miami Five are Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and René González – five Cuban men arrested in Miami in 1998 while attempting to stop terrorist attacks against the Cuban people. They were arrested in Miami in September 1998, where they were illegally held in solitary confinement for 17 months and charged with conspiracy to commit espionage. An unfair trial resulted in terms of between 15 years and double life.

 

For further details contact:

 

Rob Miller, Mobile  +44 (0) 7930 693900

director@cuba-solidarity.org.uk

 

Natasha Hickman, Mobile  +44 (0) 7813 689777

communications@cuba-solidarity.org.uk

 

Cuba Solidarity Campaign, c/o Unite, 218 Green Lanes, London N4 2HB, Britain

Tel:  +44 (0)208 800 0155   www.voicesforthefive.com

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