Petition von ¡Basta Ya!
an die 59. Menschenrechtskommission der UNO in Genf

Petitions Team
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Genf

Berlin, March 2003

Five Cuban political prisoners in US-penitentiaries;

Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González alias Rubén Campa, Ramón Labañino alias Luis Medina, René González

Ladies and Gentlemen!

We, members and supporters of the German committee for the liberation of the five Cuban political prisoners held in the USA, want to draw your attention to the case of five Cuban political prisoners, who at the moment are serving their sentences in various federal maximum security penitentiaries in the USA after having been convicted in June 2001 of conspiracy to commit offences against the USA by gathering information about US-military installations and other charges (United States vs. Hernández et al.). In reality they were prosecuted by the US-authorities for defending their country of Cuba from US-sponsored and US-supported terrorism that emanates from Miami. They lived in Miami since the early 1990s and were on a vital mission of monitoring anti-Cuba terro-rist groups there to prevent violence against their country. Actually there is an appeals court date in Atlanta on the 7th of April 2003, which aims at a revision of their sentences. Their attorneys are actually preparing this date.

On the 28th of February or 3rd of March the prisoners were suddenly and without any justification thrown into solitary confinement in their separate prisons, and it is unknown how long this form of punishment will last. As far as we know, here-with they are no longer permitted visitors nor telephone calls, nor correspondence with their families and friends by letters. As far as are informed they do not have contact with diplomatic or consular representatives. The contact with their attorneys is seriously impaired; but on the other hand it is just now more than essential that their attorneys have full and unrestricted access to their clients with respect to the above-mentioned appeals court date.

It is our firm conviction that this measure of the US-prison authorities is a se-rious offence against a number of human rights standards and principles. In detail:

1. The UN-Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners provide that:

a) "37. Prisoners shall be allowed under necessary supervision to communicate with their family and reputable friends at regular intervals, both by corres-pondence and by receiving visits."

b) "38. (1) Prisoners who are foreign nationals shall be allowed reasonable fa-cilities to communicate with the diplomatic and consular representatives of the State to which they belong.

(2) Prisoners who are nationals of States without diplomatic or consular re-presentation in the country ..... shall be allowed similar facilities to commu-nicate with the diplomatic representative of the State which takes charge of their interests ...".

c) "57. ....... Therefore the prison system shall not, except as incidental to justi-fiable segregation or the maintenance of discipline, aggravate the suffering inherent in such a situation" (i.e. the situation of a person in prison, from whom is taken the right to self-determination by depriving him of his liberty).

d) "79. Special attention shall be paid to the maintenance and improvement of such relations between a prisoner and his familiy as are desirable and in the best interest of both".

The confinement of the five Cuban political prisoners is in our opinion illegal. They did not give reason for that form of extra-punishment. Their behavior during the time of their imprisonment has always been exemplary, so that they do not deserve this type of treatment, with all its negative consequences for them.

2. Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in particular

"3. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:

(a) .........

(b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing;". And

"5. Everyone convicted of a crime shall have the right to his conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according to law."

3. Generally spoken: It is an undisputed and internationally acknowledged principle of a fair trial that every defendant has the right of full and unrestricted access to his attorney and vice versa.

4. Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which the US has ratified, forebids the denial to contact the competet diplomatic or consular re-presentative, too.

After all we are convinced that you will share our views and concerns after having examined this case, and we hope - in the interest of the prisoners under consideration - for an early reply.

¡Basta ya!