International Figures Call for Freedom for Five Cubans Imprisoned in the U.S.
International Figures Call for Freedom for Five Cubans Imprisoned in the United States for 15 Years
PRESS RELEASE: Wednesday 30 October
Noam Chomsky, Emma Thompson, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Ricardo Alarcón, Günter Grass and Ramsey Clark
have joined other international personalities in support of Voices for
the Five, an international coalition calling for justice and freedom for
five Cubans imprisoned in the United States.
Voices for the Five,
launched today, brings together supporters from the arts, media, legal,
NGO and campaigning organisations calling for justice and freedom for
the Cuban Five - five Cubans arrested in 1998 while attempting to
prevent terrorist attacks against the Cuban people by groups within the
rights and legal groups have raised questions about the fairness of the
trial. Amnesty International stated that she has "serious doubts about
the fairness of the the proceedings leading to their conviction" The
organization says that she is "supporting calls for a review of the case
by the US executive authorities through the clemency process or other
On 7-8 March 2014, a major two day Commission of Inquiry into the Case
of the Cuban Five will convene a panel of internationally renowned
commissioners drawn from legal, human rights, political and academic
backgrounds and organisations at the Law Society in London as part of
the Voices for the Five initiative.
Commission will hear testimony from René González Sehwerert, the first
and only member of the Five to have been released after completing his
15 year sentence. He will be joined by family members, victims of
terrorism against Cuba, lawyers, politicians and campaigners from Cuba
and across the world.
A full list of endorsers and video messages from international supporters of the Cuban Five can be found at www.voicesforthefive.com.
The website calls on people across the globe to sign up online with
messages, photos and videos to add their support to the hundreds of
international figures already involved.
Michael Mansfield, famous English barrister, says "I
am delighted to endorse the Inquiry into the case of the Miami Five to
be held in London next March. It will serve as an expression of truth
and conscience by the people for the people. Politicians cannot be
trusted to undertake such an exercise"
Noam Chomsky, American academic and activist, says "They
weren't criminals. They were heroes. I mean they were exposing to the
US government crimes that are being committed on US soil; crimes the US
government is tolerating and theoretically should be punishing itself.
The five Cubans took a risk in doing that and that was a heroic act and
instead of being honored for it they are being severely punished for it.
And that's why global opinion is so appalled by this travesty. The only
way to remedy the injustice is to withdraw the charges completely"
Irmita González, eldest daughter of René González Sehwerert says "I
was only 14 when my dad got arrested and I am 29 now. I have been
growing up in the middle of this battle. It's too long. It's time for it
to end and for my uncles to come back to their families, their life and
their country, because they are people who have fought against the harm
that has been done to Cuba for many years. They should be free and we
need them back."
Notes to editors:
The two day Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban Five will
convene a group of internationally renowned commissioners drawn from
legal, human rights, political and academic backgrounds and
organisations. They will hear first hand evidence from witnesses about
their personal experiences of terrorism against Cuba, the arrest, the
trial, legal appeals and the treatment and sentencing of the Cuban Five.
This public event and will run concurrently with a full programme of
rallies, concerts, exhibitions, screenings, media and cultural events to
reach out to the widest audience as possible and generate increased
international support and awareness for the cause of justice for the
2. Endorsers include
Noam Chomsky, US academic and activist
Julie Christie, UK Actor
Ramsey Clark, Former US Attorney General
Günter Grass, German Nobel Prize for Literature
John Le Carré, UK novelist
Mairead Maguire, UK Nobel Peace Laureate
Michael Mansfield QC, UK legal
Phil Manzanera, musician, Roxy Music
Emma Thompson,UK actor
Alice Walker, US author
Dame Vivienne Westwood, UK international fashion designer
The International Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban Five
will be on 7-8 March 2014, The Law Society, Chancery Lane, London
The Cuban Five are Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, Fernando
González, Antonio Guerrero and René González - five Cuban men arrested
in Miami in 1998 while attempting to stop terrorist attacks against the
Cuban people. They were arrested in Miami in September 1998, where they
were illegally held in solitary confinement for 17 months and charged
with conspiracy to commit espionage. An unfair trial resulted in terms
of between 15 years and double life.