[Ppnews] Weinglass: Public support crucial for Cuban Five Case
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 22 10:13:19 EDT 2008
ACN Cuban News Agency
September 21, 2008
Leonard Weinglass: Public Support is Crucial in Cuban Five Case
Leonard Weinglass, Defense Attorney for the five
Cuban antiterrorist fighters held in US jails for
10 years now, known as the Cuban Five, spoke with
the Cuban News Agency during the launching,
September 20 in Havana, of the book Chronicle of
an Injustice, which describes the case; the book
is one more effort to raise world awareness about
the cause of five Cubans who were given extremely
long sentences for having fought terrorism. We
now bring our readers the full text of the conversation with the US lawyer.
Mr. Weinglass, the 11 Circuit of Atlantas Court
of Appeals recently rejected a petition made last
June 24 by the defense to review the case and
reconsider its decision, upheld the convictions.
Could you tell us what comes next in the legal battle in favor of the Five?
- The legal case is now moving to Washington,
where we are attempting to get the Supreme Court
of nine justices to take the case for review,
that is one front of legal work, the second front
returns to Miami where three of the Five are
scheduled to be re-sentenced before the trial
judge. That is the other front we are working on.
There is a two-front struggle at this point. Its
very important that we build support for the case in Washington.
However, we understand that the Supreme Court
only takes from 1.5 two 2 percent of the case
that are presented each year. What are the chances for this case, then?
-- It is very difficulty to assess what our
chances are. However, this is a very unusual
case; it is important nationally and
internationally. It is a case which won a
unanimous decision first at the 11 Circuit and
then it lost two later decisions, but those
decisions carried a very strong dissent so in the
three cases we won one and we barely lost two, so
the Supreme Court should look at this record,
since it is an ambiguous record, it is the kind
of record that calls out for a review.
As to legal cases you have reiterated your
statement that you do not win in court but on the
streets, we understand that public support is crucial.
-- The lesson of the Angela Davis case, in which
I was involved, is that as you build public
support you increase the prospects of obtaining a
victory. She was an African American woman, a
member of the Communist Party, tried before a
white jury in a rural county of California and
charged with killing a judge; it was very
serious, she originally carried the death
penalty, but she was acquitted of all charges and
that was largely because of the international
outcry about her case. In the other political
cases, I have been involved in public support has
been crucial. The Supreme Court this year will
get 8000 petitions for review; they will take
fewer than one hundred; our case will only be
taken if it becomes a known case, a rather famous
case, then it will be review, so public support is essential to our work.
Why is this a political case?
-- These case takes every definition of a
political trial, and it is a case that involves
not just a political issue but also the
relationship between the US and Cuba. In the
trial process they reviewed the 40-year history
of that relationship, and this case is centered
in that history. So it is unavoidable of the
process itself that the process itself has been
political since the beginning and it remains
political. Senator McCain, currently running for
President referred to our case, so it is a
political case; if it will be decided politically
it requires political support.
The presentation of the book, which was printed
in Spanish, English and French, was made by the
president of the Cuban Parliament Ricardo Alarcon
at the colonial building hosting the Cuban Book
Institute, in the old section of Havana. The
ceremony was attended by relatives of the Cuban
Five, the president of the Havana-based Casa de
Las Americas Institution, Roberto Fernandez Retamar and other personalities.
Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Rene Gonzalez,
Fernando Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero, were
framed and arrested by FBI agents in 1998 and
given unfair and long sentences including four
life terms, after they collected information on
Florida-based ultra-right organizations that have
undertaken terrorist actions against the Cuban people.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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