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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

10:00 AM - 13:00 PM

Just Office, Petaling Jaya

Today--12 September 2008--marks the 10th anniversary of the arrest of the Cuban Five in the United States of America. The Five--Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino and Rene Gonzalez--were accused of "conspiracy to commit espionage" and other charges and sentenced to terms ranging from 15 years to double life in a Miami court in 2001.

The Five were not involved in any act of espionage against the US. They were not in possession of any weapons. Neither did they kill or injure any person. The Five were monitoring Cuban exile groups in the US with an established track record of committing terrorist acts against the Cuban people and the Cuban nation. They were gathering information about the terrorist missions that these groups were planning and had informed the US authorities about what they (the Cuban Five) were doing. And yet they were arrested and jailed after an unfair, unjust trial.

The legitimacy of the activities of the Cuban Five on US soil is underscored by the fact that since 1959 Cuba has been confronted by military invasions, bomb attacks and assassination attempts upon its former President, Fidel Castro, all organised from the US by Cuban exile groups with the connivance and collusion of US security agencies. It is because the Cuban Five sought to expose such terrorist activities that the US authorities took action against them. In other words, the unjust incarceration of the Cuban Five is nothing less than a brazen move to protect terrorism!

The world now realises that the incarceration of the Cuban Five is a terrible travesty of justice. Committees demanding liberty for the Cuban Five have been formed in 100 countries. People's petitions with signatures from international personalities including Nobel Laureates have been sent to the US Attorney General asking that the prisoners be released immediately. Human rights NGOs from different parts of the world have also come out in support of the Cuban Five.

In spite of all these dedicated efforts, the Cuban Five continue to languish in jail. This is a shame. It is an utter disgrace. The incarceration of the Cuban Five is as disgraceful as the detention without trial of hundreds of so-called terror suspects at Guantanomo.

We urge the mainstream media in the US in particular to expose this 10-year long injustice. More NGOs and church, synagogue and mosque groups, apart from other religious groups, in the US should campaign for the release of the Cuban Five. The European Parliament, and individual national parliaments in the West and in Asia should adopt resolutions calling upon the US Administration to free the Cuban Five immediatel

For our part, the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) will continue to campaign for justice for the Cuban Five.

Chandra Muzaffar

12 September 2008