About the 11TH Circuit Court
Decision in the Cuban Five Case
Rendered August 9, 2005
The Honorable Alberto Gonzalez
Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General
US Department of Justice
950 Pennysylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 2053-0001,
Fax: +1 202 307 6777
Salutation: Dear Attorney General
The Cuban Five in Atlanta - The Long March To Justice
by Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada:
Counterpunch, August 27-28, 2005
This is the most complete, succinct summary of the case and the meaning of the Atlanta Court's decision which readers can find anywhere. It's indispensible reading to undertand the case. Opening paragraph:
On 9th August last, 28 months after the defendants had filed their arguments, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta finally handed down its verdict reversing the unjust convictions imposed over four years ago by a Miami Court on five young Cuban anti-terrorism fighters. The decision of the Atlanta Court was in no way a precipitated one. The process enabling the defendants to exercise their right of appeal was long, complex and hazardous. They had to face a whole series of obstacles that breached principles and rules of both American and international law, which forced them to a defense in conditions that defy imagination. It seemed their case would never actually reach the superior court for its necessary review. Then, the judges in Atlanta in order to do justice dedicated to the case four times the period used by the shameful farce in Miami.
MIAMI HERALD : Excerpts from Federal Court ruling in Cuban Five case
Posted on Sat, Aug. 13, 2005
Court could not ensure a fair, impartial jury
A new trial
was mandated by the perfect storm created when the surge of pervasive community
sentiment, and extensive publicity both before and during the trial, merged with
the improper prosecutorial references. The district court's instructions to the
jury only generally reminded the jury that statements by the attorneys were not
evidence to be considered. The community's displeasure with the Elián González
controversy paled in comparison with its revulsion toward the Brothers to the
Rescue shoot down.
Alarcón: A retrial will turn into a Nuremberg for the U.S.
“On August 9 the judges publicly announced their unanimous decision to overturn the sentences and order a retrial for our compatriots, who have the right to an impartial trial in a non-hostile atmosphere. However, the Five are still incarcerated in maximum-security prisons. What we would like is for the fullest, most generous and most vigorous will to emerge from this Festival so that the Washington authorities know that many people in the world know that they are holding kidnapped five anti-terrorist combatants; that the U.S. General Attorney’s Office is flooded with letters, faxes, emails, phone calls and communications of every type demanding the release of Antonio, René, Gerardo, Fernando and Ramón.”
immediate release must be the main consequence of the historic step taken by the
Atlanta judges, whose ruling – totally adhering to the Constitution and other
laws of that country – was demonstrative of the dignity, decorum and
professionalism of the three judges, who merit all our respect.
Alarcón: There is no justification for keeping the Five
"The U.S. government will have to decide whether to appeal the finding or not, but in either case it has to let them out now. The appeal could take time and the retrial as well, and they should be waiting for either step outside the jails."
Paul McKenna: Interview with Gerardo Hernandez' attorney:
"I have been a lawyer since 1982 and the greatest moment that I ever had was yesterday when I was able to call Gerardo Hernández at the prison where he is at and get him on the phone and tell him
that we had won the appeal. In my nearly 25 years of being an attorney that was my greatest moment."
OUR OPINION: FAIR TRIAL REQUIRED CHANGE OF VENUE AT THAT TIME
"The court simply found that the interests of fairness would best have been served at the time by moving the spy trial elsewhere before the trial began. In the interest of fairness, we agree."
Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)
"Though irremediably tainted, the original decision would have been a trifle more respectable if in the parallel case of anti-Castro terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, the White House had not decided to use a series of subterfuges to shield him from prosecution. The decision to protect Carriles, but unfairly try the Cuban Five in the U.S., illustrates that Washington is willing to manipulate its anti-terrorism laws in the service of its political ideology, forgoing true justice."