The case of the Cuban Five before the UN Human Rights Council
Havana, Cuba, March 8.- Cuba once again denounced on Monday the arbitrary detention of five Cuban antiterrorists who remain unjustly imprisoned in the United States since 1998.
Speaking before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Cuban representative, Juan Antonio Quintanilla, criticized the incarceration of Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez —internationally known as the Cuban Five–– in a discussion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Prensa Latina news agency reports.
Quintanilla highlighted the work of the Group on the cause of the Cuban Five and noted that, instead of observing the Group’s considerations, Washington continued to carry out its political manipulation.
He added that these men went through a biased judicial process, politically motivated, and that they were denied access to 80 % of the documents used to incriminate them and to the regular meetings with their lawyers.
The Cuban delegate pointed out that the re-sentence process of three of the Cuban Five, presented by the US government as response to the Working Group, is just an attempt to conceal the truth.
“The only fair re-sentence would be the immediate release of these innocent antiterrorists”, affirmed Quintanilla.
On July 12, 2008, Granma newspaper published a statement by the Cuban National Assembly of the People’s Power, which asserted that Gerardo, Antonio, Rene, Ramon and Fernando were imprisoned for trying to prevent terrorist actions against Cuba by right wing groups based in Miami.
The statement urged all parliaments around the world to carry out actions for the release of the Cuban Five. (acn).
Cuban Five Message Read before UNHRC
Geneva, Mar 11.- Cuban Ambassador to Geneva Rodolfo Reyes read a message from the five anti-terrorist Cuban fighters held in US prisons before the UN Human Rights Council.
In his speech on the third issue of the agenda of the 16th period of sessions of the HRC, Reyes said that Cuba has significant concerns to share and proposals to make regarding serious threats to the very existence of mankind.
Before reading the message addressed by Ramon Labanino, Rene Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez, The Cuban Five, Reyes clarified some points of the issue discussed in the HRC.
“Hunger is increasing exponentially, as food is turned into financial speculation assets and a great volume of cereals are used to make biofuels in countries of the affluent North,” he argued.
He also said that the peoples’right to peace is questioned “by hegemonic cravings of a bunch of powers, which increasingly resort to threats to use military force and accumulate nuclear weapons.”
Reyes said that “because of its human dimension and extraordinary significance,” Cuba would use its time to speak before the HRC to convey a message sent by five Cubans unfairly held in US prisons.
He said that their only responsibility was to gather information of interest to thwart terrorist plans of Miami-based groups against the Cuban people, and their detentions were declared arbitrary in the Opinion 19/2005 of the Work Group pertinent to this Council.
Then he read the message addressed by The Cuban Five:
The ruling of the Group on Arbitrary Detention of this Council, to which the United States has responded hypocritically and with manipulated arguments, is still in force. The echo of our repeated appeals is lost year after year in this plenary, and the same questions remain unanswered.
“Why what is considered terrorism when practiced against the powerful is not considered as such when the powerful commit it? Why a few can attack, massacre and destroy human life on behalf of the alleged fight against terrorism while the victims of their terrorist acts cannot exert the simplest right to defense?”
Why is human life valued by the weapons, the capacity of economic coercion or blackmail of some governments? Isn’t it laudable to defend a people from terrorism beyond political considerations?
Has humankind to accept that the US government shelters terrorists in Florida and uses unpunished its corrupt judicial system to protect them as it proclaims itself universal judge?
As long as the value of human life remains to be so relative, the most basic decency will continue being a utopia, and a thousand pieces of advice like this will not suffice for the world to take human rights struggle seriously.
Meanwhile, we will continue appealing to decency, they said. (Prensa Latina).