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News :: Human Rights
10,000-plus Britons ask the U.S. Attorney General to release the Cuban Five
10 Feb 2006
Modified: 03:19:16 PM
Nobel Literature Prize laureate Harold Pinter, 110 MPs and 15 UK Trade Union general secretaries among the signatories demanding the immediate release of the Cuban Five.
10,000-plus Britons ask the U.S.
Attorney General to release the Five

By Granma

LONDON, February 8.— Nobel Literature Prize laureate Harold Pinter, 110 MPs and 15 general secretaries of the principal UK trade unions are among thousands of names included in an open letter sent by the British Cuba Solidarity Campaign to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzáles, calling for the immediate release of the five anti-terrorist Cuban fighters imprisoned in that country and known as the Miami Five.

The open letter, which also condemns the treatment of the prisoners’ families, has been signed by more than 10,000 people in the UK.

It has been circulated by the British Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) in anticipation of a new hearing on February 13 and to give publicity in the UK and at international level to the case of the five Cubans.

A large number of British MPs were moved to include their names in the letter after meeting last December in the House of Commons with Olga Salanueva, wife of Rene González – one of the anti-terrorist fighters subjected to a rigged trial and still in prison in spite of rulings against their incarceration. This was in the framework of a visit by Olga and her daughter Yvette to this country, organized by the CSC.

The Cuban delegation toured the country highlighting the meeting coordinated by the CSC in the House of Commons by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cuba, where the members explained to the MPs how, for five years, Olga Salanueva and her 7-year-old daughter have been prevented from visiting René due to the refusal of the U.S. authorities to grant them the relevant visa.

MP Ian Gibson, chair of the group, said that the fact that those men were arrested and charged with espionage for infiltrating various groups based in the United States engaging in acts of terrorism against Cuba, exposes the double standards of the war on terrorism in the United States.

Just one week ago, Amnesty International joined the international call for a retrial for the prisoners. In a letter to the U.S. State Department the international human rights organization expressed “urgent concern” and “serious questions” in relation to the justice of the sentences.

On hearing of the number of MPs and supporters that have signed the letter, Olga Salanueva thanked the CSC and Britons for their solidarity with the cause. Speaking from Cuba, she said: “During these five years of sorrow and suffering, we, the families of the Five have always felt that we are not alone, because we can count on the support and solidarity of honest people like yourselves. The fact that Harold Pinter has also signed the letter along with more than 100 MPs, really is a demonstration to our families that the solidarity I felt when I was in the UK in December 2005 is a genuine force. I am sure that actions of support like these coming from friends all over the world will help us bring our loved ones back home.”

CSC chair Rob Miller explained: “Initially, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign wrote about the case to MPs at the end of December. The fact that more than 100 MPs have signed the open letter in such a short time is a clear and resounding demonstration of the profound sentiment of injustice felt in Britain in relation to this case.”

-- 30 --

Text of the Open Letter

Mr. Alberto Gonzáles,

U.S. Attorney General

According to information supplied by the international press on August 9, 2005, the 11th Circuit Atlanta Court of Appeals annulled and overturned the sentences passed in Miami that sentenced Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, René González Sehwerert, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort for infiltrating extremist Cuban-American groups in south Florida with the aim of obtaining information on terrorist activities directed against Cuba. These prison sentences have been previously declared illegal by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions of the UN Human Rights Commission.

For the last seven years these five young men have been imprisoned in maximum security jails; they have been held incommunicado in isolation cells for long periods of time and two of them have been refused the right to receive family visits.

At this present time and taking into account the annulment of their sentences, nothing justifies their continued imprisonment.

This arbitrary situation, which is extremely distressing for them and their families, cannot be allowed to continue.

We, the signatories below, are asking for their immediate release.

-- END --

Union labor donated
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Re: 10,000-plus Britons ask the U.S. Attorney General to release the Cuban Five
11 Feb 2006
Since when do Britons decide United States policy? Really - who cares what they think?