Supreme Court Won't Hear Appeal of the 'Cuban Five'

A vintage car drives by a billboard on the outskirts of Havana demanding freedom for the five Cuban agents serving prison terms in the United States June 4, 2009.
(REUTERS/Desmond Boylan)

Supreme Court Won't Hear Appeal of the 'Cuban Five'

The five are serving 75 years in prison collectively after being convicted of espionage in a Miami court in 2001. They say they were fighting terrorism against their country.

The U.S. Supreme Court has just decided it will not hear the appeal of the "Cuban Five," a group of Cubans that had infiltrated right-wing Cuban-American groups in Miami as part of Havana's counter-terrorism program. The FBI arrested the five in 1998 and in 2001 they were convicted of 26 counts of spying on Cuban exiles. The trial took place in Miami and the lawyers for the five argued that it was the single most biased community where the trial could have been staged. They attempted to have the case moved to Fort Lauderdale, but that was rejected.

As Democracy Now has reported, "The Cuban Five trial was the only judicial proceeding in US history condemned by the UN Human Rights Commission. Several Nobel Prize winners have also petitioned the US Attorney General calling for freedom for the five. Cuban leader Raul Castro offered last year to release over 200 political prisoners in Cuba in exchange for the five men."

The issue of the venue for the trial was at the center of the case the five presented to the US Supreme Court:

Without comment, the justices refused to review a U.S. appeals court ruling that the five intelligence agents, who are serving long prison sentences, had failed to establish a right to change the trial venue from Miami, the heart of the Cuban American community.

According to The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five:

The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.

They are Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez.

The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges.

But the Five pointed out vigorously in their defense that they were involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups, in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba.

The Five's actions were never directed at the U.S. government. They never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any weapons while in the United States.

For more info, see The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five.

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