Cuban Five Case Unique, Says US Lawyer

Havana, Cuba, Sept. 9 –  US lawyer Phillip Horowitz said today that to date, the case of the five Cuban men tried and sentenced in the United States for fighting terrorism, cannot be compared to any other he has dealt with in his 29 years of professional practice.

“This case is unique,” expressed the lawyer in brief remarks by email to Prensa Latina, speaking of the 16 years of detention imposed upon Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, and Antonio Guerrero. Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez (no relation), both defended by Horowitz, left prison in 2011 and 2014, respectively, only after serving their full sentences. They have returned to Cuba.

Horowitz said it has been an honor to be part of the defense team for the Five (as they are identified), since 1998, when they were arrested.

His considerations occur amid activities, scheduled from September 4 to October 6, to focus attention on the international solidarity with the men. Activists are demanding the release of Hernandez, Guerrero and Labañino, who remain confined in US federal prisons.

Many observers agree that this is a political case and in the eyes of the world the injustice against them is obvious.

On August 9, 2005, a panel of three judges from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta concluded in a detailed 93-page analysis, that the sentences should be overturned, on the basis that the Five had not received a fair trial in Miami. A new trial was ordered away from that city.

The judges ruled that a fair trial was impossible in that South Florida city, because of the prejudices and animosity existing against Cuba in that community.

But in particular, they recognized the abundant evidence presented by the defense, in which the record of terrorist actions planned against the Caribbean island by violent groups based in Florida had come to light.

Nevertheless, 16 years after their arrest, Hernandez, Guerrero and Labañino remain in captivity, serving sanctions that total two life sentences and 66 years in prison as a whole.

More than 10 Nobel prize-winners, along with parliamentarians, artists, activists, human rights defenders, students, trade unionists, religious leaders, and others, have demanded that the President of the United States, Barack Obama (also a Nobel prize-winner), use his executive powers and send the men back to their homeland.(Prensa Latina)