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Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert
Released October 7, 2011
René González is an American citizen, born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 13, 1956. As a son of Cuban immigrants he returned to Cuba in 1961. Rene is a pilot and flight instructor. Married to Olga Salanueva since 1983, they have two daughters: 23 year-old Irma González Salanueva, and 9 year-old Ivette González Salanueva.
From 1977 to 1979 he participated as an internationalist combatant in the war of liberation in Angola and against apartheid.
In 1990 Rene returned to the United States, and in 1996 his wife and elder daughter joined him in Miami. His daughter Ivette was born in that city in 1998.
On September 12, 1998 René was arrested. He was held in preventative custody for thirty-three months before the sentence was passed and was isolated in special cell, known as “the hole”, designed for prisoners with serious disciplinary problems for almost 17 months prior to the trial and for 48 days after the verdict was passed. In February 2003 he was once again held in solitary confinement for almost a month without any reason being given.
His trial, held at the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, under Case No. 98-721-Cr-Lenard(S), began on November 26, 2000 and concluded on June 8, 2001, in Miami, Florida, home to over half a million Cuban exiles. Miami is a community with a long history of hostility toward the Cuban government - a record that a federal appellate court in the United States later described as a “perfect storm” of prejudice, precluding a fair trial.
Following his conviction, on December 14, 2001 he was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment on the charges of General Conspiracy and Conspiracy to act as a non- registered foreign agent.
After the trial, Rene was transferred to a maximum-security prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, before being moved to McKean Federal Correctional Institution in the same state. Later, he was taken to Edgefield FCI in South Carolina, and finally to Marianna FCI, Florida, where he is served until Oct. 7, 2011.
Despite repeated appeals, Judge Joan Lenard ruled that he must stay in Florida for the next three years under conditions of “supervised release.”
Since the deportation of Rene’s wife, Olga Salanueva, in 2000, the government of the United States has denied visa permits to her on 7 occasions.