09/19/13 - AIN (Havana) - The Cuban Five and the Ignored Habeas Corpus Evidence
Havana, Cuba, Sept 19.- Victims of the paradox of having fought terrorism and convicted in a biased Miami court after preventing violent actions against Cuba, Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino and Antonio Guerrero have unsuccessfully awaited for attention to their Habeas corpus petitions.
Unavailable or unknown evidence at the moment of their conviction and technical or constitutional violations justified their collateral appeal.
It is well known, the US government paid huge sums of money to journalists so that they created a hostile environment against the five Cubans and pressure the jury. The paid journalists met their task and received their reward.
Other irregularities were also taken into account for the Habeas corpus petition.
In the case of Ramon Labanino, the attorney that initially presented him in court did not say that he could remain silent when he was asked for a statement and still called by the name Luis Medina, which he used. Such slip cost him an additional charge: obstruction of justice.
And although Judge Lenard, who heads the process, may consider that his Habeas corpus is not appropriate, she may admit that the charge of obstruction of justice does not apply. And this would mean a reduction of his prison sentence from 30 to 25 years, at least five years less.
The other three Cubans also presented their Habeas corpus petitions, based on the manipulation of evidence and the fact that the lawyers had access to only 20 percent of the evidence.
Gerardo Hernandez is facing the most complicated case with two life terms, plus 15 years. His Habeas corpus is based on a constitutional violation since he was not able to declare separately on his third charge: conspiracy to commit murder. Add to this the ineffectiveness of his initial defense attorney, who did not try to prove that Gerardo had nothing to do with the downing, on 24 February 1996, of the planes with the organization known as Brothers to the Rescue.
Rene Gonzalez, who is already free in Cuba, met his prison sentence and achieved the modification of his parole conditions in exchange for the renouncing of his American citizenship.
The US government asked the South Florida District Court to reject the Habeas corpus petitions issued by Ramon Labanino and by Fernando Gonzalez; this precisely was the reply by the prosecution to the petitions issued by the defense attorneys, who already submitted their appeal.
It is now Judge Lenard, who must take the decision. It is not known if she will do it case by case or if she will issue a collective statement on the process of the five Cuban heroes.
In the case, the strategy will continue to take all legal opportunities in order to achieve the release of the five antiterrorists, who have been held in US prisons since 1998.(ACN)
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