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ONE YEAR SINCE THE ATLANTA DECISION ON THE FIVE

"These judges could not ignore the truth"
• Says Ian Thompson of the U.S. National Lawyers Guild
Last year's decision by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit
Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturning a Miami court ruling against the Cuban Five was "historic" and "necessary," commented California Lawyer Ian Thompson who represented the US National Lawyers Guild at the oral hearing of the case in March 2004.
"These judges could not ignore the truth"
• Says Ian Thompson of the U.S. National Lawyers Guild
Last year's decision by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit
Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturning a Miami court ruling against the Cuban Five was "historic" and "necessary," commented California Lawyer Ian Thompson who represented the US National Lawyers Guild at the oral hearing of the case in March 2004.
"These judges realized that, with all the evidence facing them, they could not ignore the truth and the injustice that had been perpetrated against these five Cuban men," he said in an interview with Granma International.
The National Lawyers Guild, to which Thompson belongs, represents nearly 5,00 attorneys in the United States.
The three judges announced their verdict on August 9th 2005.However the five Cubans are still locked up in five different prisons across the United States.
"It was an extraordinarily detailed opinion that delved into the massive irregularities in the trial of the Cuban Five and also the pervasive character of prejudice against the Cuban government and any of its agents or supporters in Miami," said Thompson.
"Also important was a long section in the opinion that discussed the long
history of brutal and murderous terrorism against Cuba launched mostly from
U.S. shores with U.S. government backing."
In their opinion, after much time and deliberation, the three judges demonstrated that the Five could not have received a fair trial in Miami for these reasons, explained the Californian Lawyer.
"They talked about the intimidation of the jury, the media bias,
inappropriate witness statements from right-wing terrorists like (José)
Basulto and more. All of this made the Five's case a very abnormal judicial
spectacle at the time of the trial. This was hard for the judges to ignore."
August 9th, 2005, the three judge panel from the 11th Circuit Court of
Appeals unanimously ruled to reverse the sentences of the Cuban Five. The
court recognized the right of the five Cubans to be impartially judged in a
non-hostile environment, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Many US lawyers were "surprised" and "dismayed" by the 11th Circuit's
decision to review the opinion of this three judge panel. "A review of this
type is granted very rarely,"
Thompson stressed adding that the Bush administration was "certainly upset" with the decision vindicating what the Five's lawyers had been saying for years: the Five couldn't receive a fair trial in Miami."
"The opinion of the three-judge panel should have been relatively
unassailable because of its attention to the facts and details of the case,"
affirms Thompson. "It was over 90 pages long and took a dispassionate look
at the objective situation facing the Cuban people and the climate of fear
in Miami pushed by a small group of right-wing Cubans, who dominate the
public discourse and silences others with differing opinions on Cuba."
It's not clear what the 11th Circuit will now do, comments the lawyer. The
court has heard oral arguments and everybody is now waiting for a decision.
"The facts of the case have not changed, the outrageous nature of the charges pending against the Five have not changed; nor has the fact that they are still being held in maximum security prisons unjustly."
One year ago, the three magistrates concluded that the convictions should be overturned and that a new trial should be held. "Although that opinion legally cannot guide the 11th Circuit's deliberations, it is a material factor in the legal trajectory of the overall case of the Cuban Five."The National Lawyers Guild is working very hard to support the legal end of
the Five's case, says Thompson.
He then emphasized the significance of a march that will take place on September 23 in Washington, D.C., to demand the release of the Cuban Five and an end to U.S. government-sponsored terrorism against Cuba. Heidi Boghosian, National Lawyers Guild Executive Director, will represent this organization at the rally.
The event, says Thompson, will be a great opportunity for lawyers, activists, and progressive pro-Cuba people to discuss strategies for expanding and amplifying support for the Five in the United States.
"We think it is important for all people in the U.S. who care about justice
to get involved," he concluded.
The Five remain incarcerated in US penitentiaries despite this favourable decision of the Atlanta court and a May 27th, 2005 decision of the United Nations Human Rights Commission Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions.
The UN panel of experienced jurists declared the imprisonment of
Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and René González "arbitrary and illegal." •

A March to the White House*
On September 23, the US National Committee to Free the Cuban Five will
hold a March to the White House and a major public forum in Washington "to
commemorate the victims of 1976 and to demand freedom for the Cuban Five."
September delineates eight years since the Cuban Five were arrested by the FBI. "For eight years the Five have been unjustly imprisoned for the "crime" of risking their lives in order to stop violent terrorist attacks from the U.S. on Cuba," recalls a message from the Committee.
It also marks the 30th anniversary of the car-bomb murder in Washington DC of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt by Cuban counterrevolutionaries working closely with the CIA.
Just two weeks after the murder of Letelier and Moffitt, the same terrorist
network bombed a Cuban airliner in flight over Barbados, killing all 73
passengers aboard, on Oct. 6, 1976.
"It was to stop these kind of horrific attacks that the Cuban Five —
Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González — came to south Florida and infiltrated the terrorist groups
which operate there with impunity," says the Committee.
The march will be followed by a public forum with speakers like Leonard
Weinglass, attorney for the Five; Francisco Letelier, son of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier assassinated in New York by Cuban mercenaries; Livio Di Celmo, brother of Fabio Di Celmo murdered in terrorist attack on Cuba; Gloria La Riva, Coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Five, USA; Andres Gomez, Coordinator of the Antonio Maceo Brigade; and others.

homepage: homepage: http://www.granma.co.cu