[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

CUBA FIVE

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 Atlanta’s 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. It’s 
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.



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