In London, Voices for the Five

by nuria Barbosa León (Granma International)

commissionDistinguished figures, academics, jurists and intellectuals are preparing for an important event set to take place March 7-8, in London. The European campaign, Voices for the Five, has organized an International Commission which will review the facts and denounce the injustice committed against the five Cuban patriots.

The objective is to disseminate the facts surrounding the case, little covered in the corporate media, and pressure the United States government to free Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino and Fernando González, who remain imprisoned for attempting to thwart terrorist actions organized by anti-Cuban groups in Miami. (René González was released in 2012 after completing his full sentence.)

Discussing the event, Beligian Katrien Demuynck, president of the Cuba Socialista Association commented, “We decided to hold the event in London, hoping to have an immediate impact within the United States. The two countries speak the same language and the cultural environment is similar.”

The activist explained that the International Commission will first examine the issue of terrorism against Cuba and the work done by the Five within violent groups based in South Florida. On the second day of the event, the numerous irregularities which occurred during the trial will be reviewed, along with the inhumane prison treatment the Five have received, including limitations on family visits, considered violations of human rights.

The Commission’s findings will be presented to U.S. authorities, directly to President Obama and to Senators and members of Congress during the Five Days for the Five event scheduled in Washington, in June, according to Katrien Demuynck.

In an interview with Granma International, Graciela Ramírez Cruz, coordinator for the International Committee for the Freedom of the Five in Cuba, explained, “The events in London are special in that they are being organized as an ethical court, with René González in attendance, representing his brothers who are still imprisoned. Prestigious intellectual figures will be present, among them, Noam Chomsky, Günter Grass, Lord Rowan Williams, Martin Sheen, Nadine Gordimer, Peter Capaldi, Dame Vivienne Westwood Ramsey Clark, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Emma Thompson, Miguel D Escoto, and Danny Glover.”

She reported that the event will be public and that running concurrently will be a varied program of activities including artistic performance, expositions, film screenings, press conferences, panel discussion and a gala concert. Details can be found at http://www.voicesforthefive.com and http://www.thecuban5.org.

The Cuba Five were arrested in 1998 and prosecuted in a highly irregular, biased court in the hostile city of Miami. They were given long prison terms, including a double life sentence for Gerardo Hernández.

The European event is expected to make an important contribution in the struggle to win their release.

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