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Sample Letter to UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Print E-mail

Sample Letter to UN High Commissioner of Human Rights for Visas for the Wives and Mothers of the Cuban Five
Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban Five

Due to the U.S. government's denial to approve visas, Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo and Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert have not seen their wives since their incarceration!! Others in the Cuban 5 have not seen their parents, wives and children with regularity. The U.S. government has taken prolonged periods of time to issue them visas. The U.S. government's denial of visitation rights is a cruel and horrible form of psychological torture. Their rationale for denial is ridiculous and baseless; none of these family members are a threat to national security. We are asking people to fax or mail out this letter to Ms. Navanetham Pillay, The NEW High Commissioner of Human Rights of the Office for Human Rights-United Nations Office at Geneva. We are asking her to intercede on behalf of the Cuban 5's mothers/wives to pressure the U.S. government to grant them VISAs to visit their husbands/sons!! 

Ms. Navanetham Pillay, High Commissioner of Human Rights
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights-United Nations Office at Geneva
8-14 Avenue de la Paix 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 917 9011

To Ms. Navanetham Pillay:

Since 1998, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, and Rene Gonzalez, known as the Cuban 5, have been unjustly imprisoned in the United States for trying to prevent terrorist attacks against Cuba. Throughout their incarceration the Cuban 5 have been victims of multiple human rights violations. One of the most unjust and inhuman of these violations has been the systematic denial of visitation from their relatives; a basic right of all prisoners.

The U.S. government has imposed a number of obstacles and unjustifiable delays in granting visas to their families. Hence, some of the Cuban 5 have only received an annual visit from family. In the cases of Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez, the situation is far more critical, as their wives, Adriana Perez and Olga Salanueva, have not been allowed to visit them in prison so far. The U.S. government asserts that these women are a risk to national security. The U.S. government has no proof or rationale that their presence will negatively impact national security. 

In order to bring to an end to this flagrant violation of human rights, I ask that you intercede in this matter and request that the U.S. government grant visas to the families of the Cuban 5 and allow them to see their relatives on a regular basis. 

Sincerely, 

[Signature]
[Address] 

The Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban 5
For more information on the Project, please contact us at Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Telephone: 718-601-4751. 
Also, consult our Website: www.freethecuban5.com

 
Denials of Family Visits for Relatives of the Cuban Five Print E-mail

International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

DIFFICULTIES SURROUNDING FAMILY VISITS TO THE CUBAN FIVE IMPRISONED IN THE UNITED STATES

During these years of unjust imprisonment, the delay in the granting of visas to the relatives of the Cuban Five, imprisoned in the United States since September 12, 1998, has, in most cases, prevented these relatives from visiting the Five more than once a year on average, despite the regulations of the different prisons allowing monthly visits.

VISA'S DENIALS TO OLGA SALANUEVA AND ADRIANA PEREZ

Olga Salanueva's family has been divided since 2000. For all these years she has been seeking a visa to enter U.S. territory for the sole purpose of visiting her husband, Rene Gonzalez, who is presently serving a 15 year sentence at the U.S. Penitentiary in Mariana, Florida, since September 12, 1998.

The couple has two daughters born of the marriage: Irma, born in 1984, and Ivette, born 1998 in the U.S.  The family resided together in the U.S. until 2000, when their youngest daughter was an infant, and they have not seen each other as a family unit since that time.

Rene Gonzalez' conviction was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on September 2, 2008 and the petition for certiorari was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 15, 2009.  Upon finishing his 15 year sentence, Mr. Gonzalez will be required to complete 3 more years of supervised release.

On August 16, 2000, two years after her husband was arrested and was awaiting trial, Olga, who was a lawful permanent resident, was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration, imprisoned during 3 months and deported to Cuba in November of that year. Although she had ample legal grounds to appeal this decision, she didn't because her two young daughters, one of them being an infant, had been left without both their parents while she was detained.

These tragic events have caused serious psychological damage to Ivette, who was just a baby when her family was torn apart.

In an effort to reunite her family, Olga unsuccessfully attempted 9 times to apply for visa. Every time her visa was denied. The U.S. Government has alleged she is a threat to the national security of that country.

On her last attempt on July 16, 2008, Olga was advised that she was permanently inadmissible to the United States.

On December 18, 2009, US Department of Homeland Security denied Olga Salanueva her humanitarian parole request to enter in the territory of the United States with the only purpose of visiting her husband. Olga's request, submitted on October 23, 2009, was endorsed by letters from important religious and human rights organizations, among them the World Council of Churches, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and the Cuban Council of Churches, as well as Amnesty International. The denial failed to mention the reasons for such decision.

Olga has never been charged or convicted of any crime in the U.S. nor anywhere else in the world. Needless to say her family visit will in no way implicate the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.

Adriana Pérez has not seen her husband, Gerardo Hernández, for more than 11 years. They have been married since 1988.

During all these years Adriana has been trying once and again to get an authorization by the U.S. Government to visit him, who is serving a sentence of two life terms plus 15 years in California, U.S. She has submitted multiple requests for visas -10 in total- and all these applications have been denied for a wide range of reasons without any justification whatsoever.

The U.S. Government alleges she is a threat to the national security of that country.

The single time she was granted a visa, in 2002, she was denied entry to the United States after arriving in Houston, Texas, and returned to Cuba without seeing her husband.

The United States Immigration authorities arbitrarily held Adriana for 11 hours at the airport and revoked her visa without offering any explanation to justify the decision to deny her entry into the United States.

Adriana's last two visa applications were denied on January 23, 2009 and July 14, 2009, pursuant to Section 306 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002, which permits the denial of non-immigrant visas to nationals of countries considered terrorists by U.S. government unless the Secretary of State judges that they do not pose a risk to the national security of the United States.

This is a humanitarian question.  She asks only that she be allowed to visit her husband and be able to communicate with him face to face.

Adriana has never lived in or visited the United States and has never been charged or convicted of any crime in the U.S. nor anywhere else in the world. Needless to say her visit will in no way implicate the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.

Numerous clergy and religious organizations have come forward to offer their support and assistance, including accompanying Olga and Adriana in visiting their husbands in case permissions to enter US territory were granted.

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The World Council of Churches; The World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Cuban Council of Churches have all expressed such strong support for Olga and Adriana that they have volunteered to accompany them in their visits. The Archbishop of Athens and Primate of the Orthodox Church of Greece, conveys their support of Olga and Adriana's plea for visas to visit their husbands.

Organizations around the world have pledged their compelling support to Olga's and Adriana's claim to visit their husbands, citing their and their husbands' rights.

Amnesty International has issued numerous letters, public statements and reports, calling for Olga and Adriana to be issued a travel document to visit their husbands. In a letter addressed to U.S authorities on January 11, 2006 Amnesty International said:

"We are concerned that the long-term, permanent denial of visits from their immediate families has caused substantial hardship to René Gonzáles and Gerardo Hernández beyond the penalties imposed.  The denial of visits has also reportedly had a detrimental impact on family members.  We believe that, in the absence of a clear and immediate threat posed by such visits, this measure is unnecessarily punitive and contrary both to standards for the humane treatment of prisoners and to states' obligation to protect family life."

Parliamentarians all over the world have also been claiming for visas to Olga and Adriana to visit their husbands. 187 members of the European Parliament signed a written declaration in 2007 (0089/2006) calling on the U.S. Government to grant the necessary visas to both wives. Other MEPs have issued letters in 2007, 2008 and 2009 with the same claim for what they call a clear humanitarian question.

Members of the U.K. House of Commons, of the German Bundestag, of Congress of the United States, House of Representatives and other Parliaments of the world have also written in support of Olga and Adriana's request to visit their husbands.

The Mayors of these 13 cities in California (Albany, Berkeley, Canyon Lake, Fairfax, Huntington Park, Maywood, Pasadena, Port Hueneme, Richmond, Salinas, Santa Cruz, Sebastopol and Winters) support the request for Olga and Adriana to be allowed to visit their husbands, stating:  "The two women should be able to visit their husbands on humanitarian grounds.  People in California and in the United States, as well as around the world, are aware of their situation.  Their case is under appeal, and there is no justifiable reason to deny these families the right to visitation."

The leaders of three of the most notorious trade unions in the United States: the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Steel Workers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, have addressed letters to the U.S. Government asking to grant visas to Olga and Adriana.

On March 8, 2009, the International Commission for the Right of Family visits issued a letter to the U.S. Attorney General, urging that Olga Salanueva be issued humanitarian parole in order to visit her husband.  This letter was signed on by 108 prominent members of the international community, including Danielle Miterrand and Nobel Peace Prize recipients Rigoberta Menchu and Adolfo Perez Esquivel, as well as other celebrities, government officials, academics, and human rights activists.

ADRIANA PEREZ


* On 25 July 2002 the United States Government prevented her from entering the United States, after granting her a visa, without offering any explanation to justify the decision to deny her entry into the United States.

* On April 2003 the US Government denied her a visa invoking section 212 (f), according to which the President could suspend the admission to US territory to any foreign person, if he considers that it is against the national security interests.

* On October 2003 the US Government denied her a visa, invoking section 212 (a)(3)(A) of the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act that prevent the entry to that country to someone who might aim at the overthrow of the United States Government by force, violence or other unlawful means.

* On April 2004 the US Government denied again the visa, invoking section 212 (a)(3)(A) of the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act.

* On January 2005 the US Government denied her a visa invoking section 212 (f), according to which the President could suspend the admission to US territory to any foreign person, if he considers that it is against the national security interests.

* On October 2005, the United States Government denied an entry visa to Adriana Pérez, invoking on that occasion section 214 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The United States authorities alleged that Ms. Adriana Pérez might try to become an immigrant.

* On October 2006, for the seventh time in the past six years, the United States Government refused Adriana Pérez permission to enter its territory, by virtue of section 212 (f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. On that occasion, the concern that Adriana Pérez might become an illegal immigrant was not mentioned; instead the United States authorities invoked the clause that they use to deny entry visas to officials of the Government of Cuba, namely, that their visits might be detrimental to the interests of the United States.

* On September 12, 2007 the US authorities denied her the visa arguing that Adriana was linked to supposed espionage activities under section 212(a)(3)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

* On January 23, 2009 the US Government denied again the entry visa (a response that was pending since July 16, 2008), alleging this time Section 306 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, establishing that no non-immigrant visa shall be issued to any alien from a country that is a state sponsor of international terrorism unless the Secretary of State determines, in consultation with the Attorney General and the heads of other appropriate United States agencies, that such alien does not pose a threat to the safety or national security of the United States. In making a determination under this subsection, the Secretary of State shall apply standards developed by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the heads of other appropriate United States agencies, which are applicable to the nationals of such states.

* On July 15, 2009 the US authorities denied again the visa by virtue of section 306 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002. In this occasion, they expressed that the information in possession of the State Department does not indicate that Adriana overcomes the presumption of inadmissibility.

* On August 2009 Adriana Pérez asked again for visa permission. That request has not been answered yet.


OLGA SALANUEVA


* On 23 April 2002, the United States Government refused to grant a visa to Ms. Salanueva  and declared her application inadmissible under section 212 (a) (3) (B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, thus implying that she was a terrorist.

* On 25 September 2002, the United States Government again refused to grant a visa to Ms. Salanueva without providing any explanation whatsoever.

* In April 2003, Ms. Salanueva was again denied a visa, this time on the grounds of section 212 (f), whereby the President may suspend the entry into United States territory of any alien if he finds that such entry would be detrimental to the interests of national security.

* In October 2003 and April 2004, the United States Government again denied Ms. Salanueva a visa, and on these two occasions cited different grounds for denying the visa. Ms. Salanueva was no longer inadmissible because she was a "terrorist" but because she was now presumed to be an intelligence agent, saboteur, or someone who might aim at the overthrow of the United States Government by force, violence or other unlawful means, as can be inferred from the wording of section 212 (a) (3) (A), which was invoked to justify the refusal to grant a visa.

* In February 2005, Ms. Salanueva was again denied a visa.

* In November 2005 the United States Government denied an entry visa to Olga Salanueva, invoking section 212 (a) (9) (A) (ii) relating to persons who have been deported. On that occasion the authorities at the American Interests Section in Cuba told Ms. Salanueva that she should not request a visa again since it would not be granted.

* On September 12, 2007 the US authorities denied her the visa again using the argument that Olga was linked to supposed espionage activities under section 212(a)(3)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and also and also they referred to Section 212(a)(9)(A)(I) about deportation.

* In the last denial- July 16, 2008 – Olga was specified in writing that her "ineligibility has a permanent character."

* On December 18, 2009, US Department of Homeland Security denied Olga Salanueva her humanitarian parole request to enter in the territory of the United States with the only purpose of visiting her husband. Olga's request, submitted on October 23, 2009, was endorsed by letters from important religious and human rights organizations, among them the World Council of Churches, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and the Cuban Council of Churches, as well as Amnesty International.

 
Petition to U.S. President Barack Obama Print E-mail

End the Injustice, Free the Cuban 5 Now!
International Committee to Free the Cuban Five, September 10, 2010

Dear President Obama,

I urgently request that you review the case of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez, internationally known as the “Cuban Five” and grant them their immediate freedom.

I am dismayed that the Cuban Five, who have committed no crime against the United States nor posed any threat to this country's national security, have now been imprisoned for 12 years. The Five monitored the activities of violent groups of Cuban exiles in Miami, activities that had already resulted in the deaths of thousands of Cuban nationals. They sought simply to protect their country from further acts of terrorism.

President Obama, imagine that the terrorism had been directed at the United States. What if prior to 9-11 a handful of Americans had managed to infiltrate the hijackers and warn the United States of an impending attack? Would we now be vilifying them for their actions?

Our government is guilty of a double standard. While the Cuban Five remain in federal prisons, there are real terrorists - such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, who masterminded the mid-air bombing of a Cuban airliner - enjoying safe haven in the United States.

Dear President Obama, on the 12th anniversary of the arrest of the Cuban Five, I appeal to your sense of justice and respectfully request that you, having reviewed the facts of this case and given due consideration to the lengthy time these men have already spent in prison, will issue an Executive Clemency on behalf of the Cuban Five so that they may return to their country, their homes and their families. And until this happens, grant visas to Adriana Perez and Olga Salanueva, so that they may immediately visit their imprisoned husbands, Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez.

To sign the peition, click here.

 
Amnesty International Seeks Review of Case of the 'Cuban Five' Print E-mail

Press Release, October 14, 2010

In a report released today, Amnesty International outlines its concerns with the fairness of the trial of five men convicted in 2001 of acting as intelligence agents for Cuba, among other charges. The five men are serving terms ranging from 15 years to life in US federal prisons.

In a letter sent to United States Attorney General Eric Holder on October 4, Amnesty International noted doubts about the fairness and impartiality of the trial which have not been resolved on appeal. The human rights organization has not taken a position on whether the five men are guilty or innocent of the charges against them.

The five -- Cuban nationals Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández and Ramón Labañino, and US nationals Antonio Guerrero and René González -- were tried in Miami and convicted on various counts, including acting and conspiring to act as unregistered agents of the Republic of Cuba, fraud and misuse of identity documents and, in the case of three of the accused, conspiracy to transmit national defense information. Gerardo Hernández was further convicted of conspiracy to murder, based on his alleged role in the 1996 shoot-down by Cuba of two planes operated by a US anti-Castro organization, Brothers to the Rescue, in which four people died.

Amnesty International's report said holding the trial in Miami, given the pervasive hostility to the Cuban government in that area, along with media and other events before and during the trial were factors that made it impossible to ensure a wholly impartial jury.

Other concerns included questions about the strength of the evidence to support the conspiracy to murder conviction in the case of Gerardo Hernández, and whether the circumstances of the pre-trial detention of the five men, in which they had limited access to their attorneys and to documents, may have undermined their right to defense.

Amnesty International has called on the government to review the case and mitigate any injustice through the clemency process or other appropriate means, should further legal appeals prove ineffective.

Amnesty International has also reiterated its concern about the repeated denials by the US government of temporary visas to allow the Cuban wives of two of the prisoners, René González and Gerardo Hernández, to visit their husbands. The organization is concerned that such a blanket or permanent bar on visits with their wives constitutes additional punishment and is contrary to international standards for the humane treatment of prisoners and states' obligation to protect family life. Amnesty International continues to urge the government to grant the wives temporary visas on humanitarian grounds.

 
Leonard Weinglass Updates Legal Situation of the Cuban Five Print E-mail

Radio Havana Cuba, September 15, 2010

Bernie Dwyer, Radio Havana Cuba, interviews Leonard Weinglass, one of the attorneys on the Cuban Five's legal defense team, by telephone from his office in New York to get an update on the legal situation of Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez. Leonard Weinglass is Antonio's lawyer who is now assisting counsel for Gerardo on his habeas appeal.

The Cuban Five, as they are known internationally, have been incarcerated in US prisons since their arbitrary arrests twelve years ago on charges of conspiracy to commit espionage and, in the case of Gerardo Hernandez, conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree. Their so-called "crime" was infiltrating terrorist groups in Miami which were planning to continue their undeclared war on the people of Cuba and the Cuban Revolution.

* * *

Bernie Dwyer (RHC): It's hard to believe that twelve years later we are still discussing the case of the Cuban Five, that they are still incarcerated in prisons all over the United States and that we are still looking for legal avenues and different ways for the campaigns to bring their case to the notice of US President Barack Obama for a resolution. Could you give a brief outline of the timeline since they were arrested twelve years ago on the 12th of September 1998?

Leonard Weinglass: It's a timeline that reflects the injustice in this case. The Five should have been returned to Cuba shortly after their arrest, as is the custom when foreigners are arrested in the United States on missions for their home countries and their activities here caused no harm. There are numerous examples, most recently the Russian agents who were sent home this year after being held in custody for less than thirty days. In this particular case, where the Five not only did no harm, but were in the US to thwart terrorist activities directed against Cuba, they clearly should have been returned.

Instead they were been subjected to cruel conditions of confinement, unjustly prosecuted in a venue that could not afford them a fair trial years, victimized by the misconduct of their prosecutors, and excessively and illegally punished with life sentences.

It took 7 years after their arrest for a 3 judge appellate panel to finally rule that their trial in Miami was a fundamental violation of their rights, only to be overruled by a politically motivated appeal by the government.

It took 10 years for a panel to rule that the life sentences meted out by the trial judge violated customary norms of sentencing in the US., leaving the same embarrassed judge to lessen  Antonio's sentence to 21 years, Ramon's to 30 years and Fernando's to 19, while Gerardo remains with two life sentences.

And it took 10 years before a senior federal judge, in a dissent, to finally acknowledge what had been true all along: that Cuba had the right to defend its airspace, while reviewing Gerardo's conviction and that he was, by any reasonable view of the evidence, innocent of the charges.

Following the Supreme Court's rejection of their appeal in 2009, despite an unprecedented outpouring of support, including ten Nobel prize winners, the bar associations of many countries, the entire Mexican Senate, two former presidents of the European Union, we are now, in 2010,  filing what is called the collateral attack or habeas corpus review for Gerardo on his conviction.

We filed on June 14th 2010 and will be filing a Memorandum of Law on October 11th. The government will be given 60 days to respond and then presumably at the end of this year or in early 2011, we will have a hearing on Gerardo's claims in Miami. If we lose there we go to the 11th Circuit Court on appeal and if we lose there, we then, once again, and ask the Supreme Court to review the case. So we still have legal avenues to pursue.

BD:  Could you give more detail on what is the basis of the on-going legal process on behalf of Gerardo Hernandez?

LW: There are essentially three claims that we are making. One is that the United States government engaged in misconduct by paying a certain number of high-profile reporters in Miami to write articles of a propagandist nature against the government of Cuba for Radio and TV Marti and at the same time these reporters during the day were also writing articles and speaking about the Five in the local media. Those articles and commentary were amongst the most prejudicial and inflamed the hostility of that community. The government, which has a legal obligation to assure all accused a fair trial in a fair venue, was actually paying reporters who were reporting the most scurrilous material that prejudiced the case. To anyone's knowledge this has never happened before. That, we argue, is a violation of due process and we are asking the court to overturn the conviction and to once again either free Gerardo or remove his case to another venue to receive a fair trial. There is even a strong argument that, if what happened is demonstrated, Gerardo cannot be retried, but must be freed outright since he was wrongly put in jeopardy through government wrongdoing the first time.

The second claim is rather technical. The government has a strict obligation to turn over anything in its records that could have helped Gerardo defend his case. This it did not do. Instead, they withheld evidence that would have demonstrated his innocence. They also withheld, and we are making this claim, satellite imagery which would have shown that where the shoot down on February 24th 1996 occurred  was in Cuban airspace and not in international airspace. The key agency of the United States government which maintains satellite data has, up to now, refused to admit or deny that they are holding such data. 

Lastly we are claiming that there was a misperception on the part of Gerardo's attorney about the principles of international law which should have governed the case and a failure to take effective measures to assure Gerardo a fair trial. This was the first case in history where an individual residing at the time in the United States was charged with a so-called conspiracy with pilots of another country's air force who were doing their duty in defending their country's airspace. Such a prosecution was outside the realm of anything any trial lawyer in the US had ever faced. There should have been a complete and thorough examination of the principles of international law which could have afforded Gerardo a clear-cut defense to the charge of conspiracy to commit murder. We are now providing the Court with a 15 page Declaration by an eminent international law professor who explains in detail precisely how the court and the defense should have approached this unprecedented case.  Even beyond that, as Judge Kravitch found, the government's case failed to establish that Gerardo had anything to do with what occurred on that day; and, under any scenario, he should have been found not guilty.

BD: Let's now move to the cases of the other four and where they stand legally. We could begin with Antonio who was serving a life sentence plus 15 years?

LW: Antonio is serving a twenty one year sentence which means that he should be free to return home in approximately seven years and maybe ever sooner. However Antonio was also the victim, as was Gerardo, of the fact that the government committed misconduct by paying reporters who were writing the most prejudicial articles against all the Five. So Antonio has the same claims on that issue as Gerardo and so have Ramon and Fernando. Antonio will be filing his habeas papers in the first week of November making the same arguments as well as the arguments on the wrongful withholding of information. I assume that Ramon and Fernando will do the same.

Rene is so close to being released in 2011 that it remains to be seen whether he will even have to file.

BD: What would be the result if this process is successful? Could they be freed?

LW: Unfortunately it will go to a trial judge in Miami, the same judge who sat on the original case. However, the interesting aspect is it might be that, if it is found that the US government committed misconduct by paying these reporters, the Five could not be tried again because under the doctrine of what's called double jeopardy, their rights were wrongfully violated by the government in the first instance. Since the government put them in jeopardy they government cannot come back now and seek a second trial. That's an issue we will be arguing and I personally feel that we will be successful, assuming a finding of government misconduct.

BD: And all these cases are going to take part in the courts in Miami towards the end of this year?

LW: Yes, it will either be towards the end of this year or possibly over into next year, 2011. And it will take place in Miami initially and if we lose there, then we will return to Atlanta before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals where we have the right of appeal.

BD: Do you think that the campaigns that are being run worldwide for the release of the Five are having any effect?

LW: Absolutely, it should be continued and if anything increased.  There's no doubt that it does have an effect. Recently, both Russian and Chinese agents have been arrested in the United States for espionage and, in all cases they were either sent home or given much lighter sentences. [There is] no question that politics, not principles of law or justice, influences the result. Even if you accept the government's claim that the Five were involved in espionage, and not the more realistic sense that they were attempting to end terrorism, their punishments are way out of line with what any civilized country would be likely to administer. Like few other cases on the international stage this case calls out to the conscience of people worldwide.

Bernie Dwyer: So you would you encourage all of us who are working both nationally and internationally to free the Five to increase our work and look for different ways to bring more attention to this case?

Leonard Weinglass: Yes, I would definitely encourage that. None of us can be sure of how the Obama Administration would react to pleas to free the five. However, history has shown in a number of cases, like those of the Puerto Rican patriots, that freedom can be attained for political prisoners in the US through the sustained efforts of those who believe in justice.

 
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