The Honorable John Ashcroft
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington D.C. 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General,
we would like to draw your attention once again to a particular case of human rights violations. As you certainly know, at present five Cuban citizens serve prison terms in various federal maximum security penitentiaries in your country. Their names are: Fernando González Llort, Rene González Sehwerert, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar and Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez. They have been accused and convicted of, among other things, conspiracy to commit espionage and conspiracy to commit murder. In reality they had infiltrated organizations of exiles from Cuba based in Miami with the aim to protect their country from terrorist actions of those anti-Cuba-organizations.
These five men have been convicted without evidence of the charges to their prosecutor, after an illegal and unconstitutional trial, which took place in Miami. This city, with a large Cuban migrant community largely hostile towards Cuban authorities, cannot be considered a neutral venue. To try the five Cubans there, is in our opinion a grave violation of the Vth and the VIth Amendment of the United States’ Constitution. For that reason alone, we regard as justified to demand that the five Cubans be tried anew, with all necessary legal guarantees. We therefore support the request of the defense for a new trial, whose appeal will be heard on March, 10 in Miami.
In addition, up to this day, the wives of two of the Cuban convicted have been denied visas to visit their husbands, who now are in prison for more than five years. The individuals concerned are Adriana Pérez O’Connor, the wife of Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, convicted to twice life-time imprisonment, and Olga Salanueva Arango, the wife of René González Sehwerert, convicted to fifteen years’ imprisonment. We believe that it is but just, under the existing national and international regulations, and, beyond it, it is humane to allow these visits, and we urge you to take the necessary steps to ensure that these prisoners maintain contact with their families.
Furthermore, 112 members of the British Parliament have already signed a motion to demand a review of the court case of the five. Amnesty International has denounced the refusal of visiting rights (v. letter of 2 December 2002).
After all we would highly appreciate if you would take the initiative regarding the violation of the rights of these five Cubans and their families and guarantee them a fair trial.