United States: New court ruling against Cuban Five

June 7, 2008

On June 4, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the US issued its ruling upholding the convictions of the five Cuban nationals being held in US jails, including the espionage and murder conspiracy convictions. The "Cuban Five" had infiltrated right-wing Cuban exile groups in Miami to help prevent terrorist attacks.

At the same time, the US government has refused demands from the Cuban and Venezuelan governments to extradite convicted terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, responsible for blowing up a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed all passengers, to Venezuela where he escaped from jail.

Below, is an abridged statement at a May 20 press conference by Gloria La Riva on behalf of the US National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. For more information, visit http://freethefive.org.

Speaking on behalf of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and the more than 350 organisations that have been established around the world to demand the freedom of five Cuban nationals serving from 15 years to double life sentences for having peacefully monitored the actions of [terrorists], we demand more vigorously than ever the immediate freedom of the Cuban Five, who are scattered in US prisons and are facing very, very dangerous situations while in prison.

The hypocrisy of the Bush administration stands out. Bush has [been] harboring, nurturing, supporting, financing the terrorists who run free in Miami while the Cuban Five have met every type of persecution possible by the same administration.

I was at the oral arguments [in] 2006, when the US attorney, Alexander Acosta ... argued vigorously for the imprisonment of the Cuban Five, and to overturn the victory they had won [for] a retrial. Shortly thereafter he argued for a reduction in sentence of Santiago Alvarez, the terrorist who, as revealed by Cuba, has been sending on a regular basis US$1500 to one of the so-called dissidents in Cuba. Alvarez is being released early on a very meager four-year sentence for having massive caches of weapons.

Alvarez is the shadow of Posada, supporting him for years. Once again we call on the Bush administration to free the Cuban Five and extradite Luis Posada Carriles.

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