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human & civil rights | prisons & prisoners

Five awaiting response from Court of Appeal

GRANMA INTERNATIONAL
Havana. September 21, 2004

BY ORFILIO PELAEZ
Granma daily staff writer
ON September 12, the five Cuban heroes sentenced to lengthy
terms in a rigged trial, full of violations of U.S. law and
political manipulations, completed six cruel years in jail
with their dignity and steadfastness intact.

In a Cuban TV Roundtable, Professor Dávalos noted that six
months and 10 days have passed since the appeal hearing
last March 10 before three judges of the Atlanta 11th
Circuit Court of Appeals, where the defense lawyers for the
Five challenged the charges of conspiracy to commit murder
and espionage with solid arguments, as well as requesting a
a retrial in a new venue, given the impossibility of doing
so in Miami due to the non-existence of the basic
guarantees of a fair and impartial trial.

He stated that from that point, the appeal is dependent on
the decision taken by those judges, which could take
another few months, as there is no regulation that obliges
them to make a ruling within a specific time period.

For Professor Dávalos, the case of the Five has been marked
from the beginning by violence, arbitrariness, hatred,
threats, pressure and political vengeance against the
accused.

The presentation of excerpts from an TV interview with
Cuban-origin counterrevolutionary Santiago Alvarez prompted
journalist Lázaro Barredo to expose the double standards
applied by the U.S. government in relation to the supposed
fight against terrorism.

This gentleman, Barredo commented, is capable of saying
before the cameras that Luis Posada Carriles is very well
and in some part of "America," and among friends.

"Given that Posada is a CIA man, I have no doubt that this
government agency has him under protection and hidden in
some state. It is likewise unprecedented, given the
antecedents of acts of terrorism committed by his three
co-conspirators, that they could show up at Miami airport
after their pardon and not even be checked by the
authorities, which they have certainly done with Latin
American diplomats," he stated.

In relation to the latest news on the five heroes, it was
reported that they are in good health, have excellent
states of mind and are in contact with their families,
lawyers and officials from the Cuban Interests Section in
Washington. In their respective jails they have the respect
of the other prisoners and the authorities and continue
with their heads held high.