URGENT ALERT ABOUT THE CUBAN FIVE. MARCH 10, 2003

THE CUBAN 5 HAVE BEEN PLACED IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. THEY NEED YOUR HELP. CONTACT THE BUREAU OF FEDERAL PRISONS TODAY.

URGENT MESSAGE TO THE FRIENDSHIP AND SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT WITH CUBA

March 11, 2003

Dear Friend:

You may not have heard of the Cuban 5, but they are five Cuban men who sacrificed their personal well-being to stop terrorism against Cuba, terrorism that has been carried out by anti-Cuba groups that operate in Miami.

Those terrorist groups, such as Alpha 66 or Omega 7, have conducted countless bombings and other acts of sabotage against Cuba for more than 40 years. More than 3,400 Cubans have been killed by their terrorist attacks.

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labanino, Fernando González, René González, and Antonio Guerrero were sent by Cuba to Miami in the early 1990s, to monitor the actions of the terrorist groups to prevent violence. Cuba only did this when it was clear that the U.S. government did nothing to stop those attacks.

Instead of arresting the terrorists, the FBI arrested the ANTI-terrorists, the five men, who are known as the "Cuban 5," in September 1988. They faced trumped-up charges of espionage on the U.S. and related charges, but the real reason they were prosecuted was their defense of Cuba, which has been a target of hostile U.S. government policy since 1959.

The Cuban 5 never engaged in espionage on the U.S. nor did they intend to. They were in Miami to stop the terrorism that their people in Cuba have suffered from for too long.

Since their September 1998 arrest they have remained in prison. After a 7-month trial in Miami, where an unbiased jury trial was impossible due to the pervasive hostility towards anyone having to do with Cuba, they were sentenced to terms ranging from 17 years to two life sentences. This is a great injustice, to imprison men who never harmed anyone, but in fact saved many lives of Cuban and U.S. people.

The Five are separated from each other in 5 U.S. prisons scattered throughout the country, in California, Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin and South Carolina. Visits from their families have been rare because the U.S. government has only issued visas twice in the last year. Two of their wives are prohibited by the U.S. from entering the country.

The National Committee to Free the Five Cuban Political Prisoners in the U.S. has been organizing to try to win them a new trial, and struggle for their freedom.

URGENT CALL Suddenly, in late February of this year, Gerardo, Fernando, Rene, Antonio and Ramon were placed into solitary confinement by orders from Washington. It was not an individual prison decision. With only one month before their appeals are filed on April 7, in the 11th Circuit Court of Atlanta, they were placed in the "hole" and denied access to their attorneys or other visitors. This places their appeals in serious jeopardy.

Their attorneys and supporters are very concerned for their safety and future. We ask the support of all justice-minded people. We ask you to call or write to Attorney General John Ashcroft and Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer. Urge their immediate release from solitary confinement, and stop the political repression of the Cuban Five. They have been model prisoners from Day One.

Please read the sample letter below and send it or a message of your own to Washington. Please note that it contains their names as they are registered in prison, along with their Identification numbers, which is very important when calling the Bureau. If you can, let us know if you respond.

For more information, visit our Website: www.freethefive.org

SAMPLE LETTER and VITAL INFORMATION

11 March 2003

Attorney General John Ashcroft U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington DC 20530-0001 e-mail: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov Tel: 202-353-1555

Ms Kathleen Hawk Sawyer Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons 320 First St. N.W. Washington DC 20534 Phone: 202-307-3198 Fax: 202-514-6620 E-mail address: webmaster@bop.gov

Subject: Prison conditions of five Cuban prisoners

Dear Sir:

I am writing you to express my grave concern about the situation of five Cuban prisoners who, in separate prisons, have been put into solitary confinement in late February 2003, without any justification.

The five Cuban prisoners are Gerardo Hernández, Reg. #58739-004, U.S. Penitentiary, Lompoc, California; Antonio Guerrero, Reg. #58741-004, U.S.P. Florence, Colorado; Ruben Campa, Reg. #58733-004, (aka Fernando González) F.C.I. Oxford, Wisconsin; Luis Medina, Reg. #58734-004, (aka Ramon Labañino) U.S.P. Beaumont federal prison, Texas; and René González, Reg. #58738-004, F.C.I. Edgefield, South Carolina.

They are imprisoned since September 1998, when they were arrested by the FBI on trumped-up charges of espionage on the United States. In reality, they were defending their country from acts of terrorism that emanate from Miami.

As the five Cubans are known to be model prisoners, I fear that the solitary confinement to which they are being submitted is mere political repression. I am concerned for the safety of the five Cuban prisoners, and I vehemently protest their unjust and unnecessary solitary confinement. Their exemplary behavior does not warrant this kind of treatment.

I also ask you to allow their attorneys full and unrestricted access to their clients, in order to safeguard their rights as prisoners and their dignity as human beings.

Hoping for a positive reply, and thanking you for your attention,

Yours sincerely,


March 10, 2003

Suddenly and without justification, the five Cuban political prisoners in the U.S. were thrown into solitary confinement on March 3 in their separate prisons. It is not clear how long the punishment will last.

Prison authorities have not given the official reason for their illegal confinement in “the hole”, but apparently it is a decision from the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, and has the markings of directed political repression against the Five.

As Leonard Weinglass, appeals attorney for Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five in Florence Colorado prison, said, “None of them belong in solitary confinement. It is completely unjustified and unnecessary as all of them are model prisoners.”

Weinglass has urged supporters of the Cuban Five to write immediately to the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington. We ask that you do not write to the individual prisons, as they are not responsible for the confinement order.

The address of the Federal Bureau of Prisons is:  320 First St., N.W., Washington DC 20534. The telephone number is 202-307-3198. Hours are Monday-Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

 The Director of the Federal of Bureau of Prisons is Kathleen Hawk Sawyer Phone: 202-307-3198 Fax: 202-514-6620 E-mail address: webmaster@bop.gov  

Weinglass noted in an interview with Radio Havana Cuba yesterday that the Black Panther prisoners in the U.S. were similarly rounded up into solitary right after 9/11.

There is speculation that they are being confined just as the U.S. government is preparing for a massive war against Iraq.

It is no coincidence that the Justice Department’s repression of Arab, Muslim and immigrant communities is also being aimed against the Cuban Five, whose only “crime” was fighting U.S.-sponsored terrorism against Cuba.

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, René González, and Fernando González have been imprisoned since September 1998 when they were arrested by the FBI on trumped-up charges of espionage on the United States. In reality they were prosecuted by the U.S. for defending their country of Cuba from U.S.-sponsored and supported terrorism that emanates from Miami.

The Five lived in Miami since the early 1990s where they were on a vital mission of monitoring anti-Cuba terrorist groups there to prevent violence against their country of Cuba. More than 3,400 Cubans have been killed by the anti-Cuba violence.

At two of the prisons on Friday, Cuba 5 supporters were ready to visit the compañeros when they were turned away. Rev. Geoff Bottoms flew in from Blackpool, England to see Ramón Labañino in Beaumont federal prison in Texas. He was told without explanation that Ramón was not permitted visitors.

Alicia Jrapko and Tanya Cole were at Lompoc prison to visit Gerardo Hernández. Jrapko was told, “It is possible they will not get any more visitors other than their family in the future.”

We ask all supporters to write to the Bureau of Prisons, expressing your concern for their safety, and that you protest the unjust and unnecessary solitary confinement. Their exemplary behavior does not warrant this kind of treatment. There is reason to believe they are singled out because they are political prisoners.

It is also essential that their attorneys have full and unrestricted access to their clients, especially at this critical time while they’re preparing for the April 7 appeals court date in Atlanta. Weinglass was unable to speak with Antonio for two days although he had authorized collect calls from him.

It is undoubtedly very stressful for their family members. They had only just returned to Cuba, after coming to the U.S. to visit their loved ones. The families had been delayed their entry visits by the U.S. government for more than six months. Two of the wives, Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez are still prohibited from entering the U.S.

 Cuban Five Are Placed in Solitary Confinement Without Explanation March 7th, 2003

The newly re-elected President of the Cuban National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcón, has condemned further abuses against the five Cuban political prisoners in the United States.

In an address to the first gathering of the Assembly since general elections in January, he said that all five had been placed in solitary confinement without any reason given and that their attorneys were unable to visit them.

“We hope - he said - that the authorities, which staged the new violation of the Five prisoners´ human rights (proving their never-ending cruelty capability), are able to put an end to the obstacles presented that prevent them from being visited by their attorneys and such an unjustifiable action right away. We ratify our commitment to keep on fighting to finish with this injustice and get their freedom”.

Alarcón demanded that the United States Government grant access to the Five by their lawyers, and decried their confinement in the "hole" as an abuse of their human rights. All five Cubans suffered 17 months of solitary confinement after they were arrested on September 12th, 1998. They all reside in different prisons deliberately spread across the entire expanse of the United States.

(Courtesy of antiterroristas.cu)

 Radio Havana Cuba Interview with Leonard Weinglass Commenting on the Change in Status of the Five Cuban Political Prisoners in the US. 7th March 2003

Bernie Dwyer: Good evening, Mr. Weinglass. The president of the Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alarcón announced during the first sitting of the new Cuban National Assembly, Thursday March 6 that the five Cuban political prisoners in the United States have been returned to isolation status in their various penitential centers. Can you comment on that?

Leonard Weinglass: “Yes, I’ve been informed of this and I’ve been in contact with the prison authorities for Antonio Guerrero out in Colorado and they haven’t been cooperating at all. I’m still trying to reach Antonio to talk to him directly. Moving the five into isolation at this time is an utterly unnecessary and irrational act, which can only be motivated by a desire to increase their punishment and have them held under even more harsh conditions than they have been held under before. I don’t see any justification for this whatsoever. After 9/11 the government put all of the black panthers who are held in various prisons throughout the United States also into isolation which was an unjustified act and had nothing whatever to do with whatever national crisis the government was claiming. I regard this as probably the same as what happened to the Black Panthers merely because they were political people being held for political reasons, they were buried into an isolation status and I’m afraid that that is happening with the five”.

Bernie Dwyer: Mr. Weinglass, Are you saying that because of the impending US war against Iraq, the five are now being treated as a security risk?

Leonard Weinglass: “Well, we can only guess at that because they refuse to answer my enquiries about why that are doing this but the fact that they did it to all five indicates that it is a policy decision and not the result of any act of any one or any five of them. I do believe that it is related to that although I haven’t had any official confirmation of it but as your question indicates, it is completely irrational and unnecessary and not related to any security concern of an realistic nature that the prison authorities might have”.

Bernie Dwyer: Exactly what kinds of rights and privileges have been cut back?

Leonard Weinglass: “Once you’re put in isolation you virtually lose all your rights. It’s a very extreme and heightened form of punishment. The only people you can communicate with are your attorneys. Antonio was a teacher at the prison and I presume that he is not permitted to teach. He is not permitted contact with others and he is held in complete isolation. This is a very harsh form of punishment and it is usually reserved for people who have violated major security provisions within the institution. The fact that the five are put there because of any imaginary national crisis that is happening in the US has absolutely no relationship to any crisis”.

Bernie Dwyer: You mentioned that the only person they can have contact with is their attorney but it seems that even that particular right is not being honored at the moment.

Leonard Weinglass: “You’re right. I have been trying for two days to talk to Antonio. They promised me that I could talk to him yesterday. I fulfilled all the requirements by writing letters, etc., authorizing Tony to call me collect but they haven’t permitted him to use the telephone. Not even that restricted right has been honored by the prison authorities so far”.

Bernie Dwyer: Mr. Weinglass, Do you know of any other political prisoners from other countries that that might be getting the same treatment?

Leonard Weinglass: “I have inquired from attorneys I know who have been representing people from the Middle East who are being held in various prisons and none has been able to give me any affirmative information so I am not sure now how many are being put in this condition or if any others are in fact but I hope sometime today to get an confirmation from these attorneys as to the status of their clients”.

Bernie Dwyer: To your knowledge, how long has this situation pertained?

Leonard Weinglass: “I was first notified of it on Wednesday morning, the 5th and I don’t know when it began but that was my first notice of it. I found out while discussing the appeal with other attorneys representing five. During the course of us discussing matters relating to the appeal, one of the other attorneys indicated that he is unable to communicate with his client. I then immediately began to enquire about Antonio’s status and I was informed that he was, in fact in isolation. But they refused to tell me why”.

Bernie Dwyer: Is there any positive actions that the solidarity groups and the general public can take to support the five Cuban political prisoners to roll back some of the problems that they are having at the moment?

Leonard Weinglass: “I think that the support network should be mobilized and should contact the Bureau of Prisons and issue statements of complaint about this condition and support for the five. In the past when the American Civil Liberties Union or Amnesty International has complained about an unjust change of status, frequently the Bureau does back down so I would think that people should be communicating to the Bureau of Prisons that the five should not be held in this condition”.

This interview was aired on Radio Havana Cuba on Friday, March 7 2003.

Cuban Five Are Placed in Solitary Confinement Without Explanation


March 9, 2003

http://www.freethefive.org/action/action_files.cfm?id=2003.03.08.205332 for English and Spanish versions.

The five Cuban political prisoners in the U.S. were suddenly and without justification thrown into solitary confinement on March 3, 2003 in their separate prisons. It is not clear how long the punishment will last.

Prison authorities have not given the official reason for their illegal confinement in "the hole", but apparently it is a decision from the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, and has the markings of directed political repression against the Five.

As Leonard Weinglass, appeals attorney for Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five in Florence Colorado prison, said, "None of them belongs in solitary confinement. It is completely unjustified and unnecessary as all of them are model prisoners."

Weinglass has urged supporters of the Cuban Five to write immediately to the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington. We ask that you do not write to the individual prisons, as they are not responsible for the confinement order.

The address of the Federal Bureau of Prisons is:
320 First St. N.W. Washington DC 20534

The telephone number is 202-307-3198. Hours are Monday-Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

Weinglass noted in an interview with Radio Havana Cuba yesterday that the Black Panther prisoners in the U.S. were similarly rounded up into solitary right after 9/11.

There is speculation that they are being confined just as the U.S. government is preparing for a massive war against Iraq.

It is no coincidence that the Justice Department's repression of Arab, Muslim and immigrant communities is also being aimed against the Cuban Five, whose only "crime" was fighting U.S.-sponsored terrorism against Cuba.

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, René González, and Fernando González have been imprisoned since September 1998 when they were arrested by the FBI on trumped-up charges of espionage on the United States. In reality they were prosecuted by the U.S. for defending their country of Cuba from U.S.-sponsored and supported terrorism that emanates from Miami.

The Five lived in Miami since the early 1990s where they were on a vital mission of monitoring anti-Cuba terrorist groups there to prevent violence against their country of Cuba. More than 3,400 Cubans have been killed by the anti-Cuba violence.

At two of the prisons on Friday, Cuba 5 supporters were ready to visit the compañeros when they were turned away. Reverend Geoff Bottoms flew in from Blackpool, England to see Ramón Labañino in Beaumont federal prison in Texas. He was told without explanation that Ramón was not permitted visitors.

Alicia Jrapko and Tanya Cole were at Lompoc prison to visit Gerardo Hernández. Jrapko was told, "It is possible they will not get any more visitors other than their family in the future."

We ask all supporters to write to the Bureau of Prisons, expressing your concern for their safety, and that you protest the unjust and unnecessary solitary confinement. Their exemplary behavior does not warrant this kind of treatment. There is reason to believe they are singled out because they are political prisoners.

It is also essential that their attorneys have full and unrestricted access to their clients, especially at this critical time while they're preparing for the April 7th appeals court date in Atlanta. Weinglass was unable to speak with Antonio for two days although he had authorized collect calls from him.

It is undoubtedly very stressful for their family members. They had only just returned to Cuba, after coming to the U.S. to visit their loved ones. The families had been delayed their entry visas by the U.S. government for more than six months. Two of the wives, Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez are still prohibited from entering the U.S.


URGENT MESSAGE TO THE FRIENDSHIP AND SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT WITH CUBA

The five Cuban political prisoners, unjustly imprisoned in the U.S., were suddenly kept in solitary confinement without any justification in their jails. It is ignored how long will they remain under these conditions.

The authorities of the prison have not given the reason of this illegal confinement in the "hole" but, seemingly it is a decision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington.

The Five Cubans imprisoned in United States since September 1998, have been again deprive of the access to their lawyers and the consular officials. They are not even allowed the phone access to their legal representatives, in the eves of the beginning of the Process of Appeal, next April 7.

Also, it was known that Catholic Father Geoffry Bottoms, of English nationality,was denied the visit programmed to Ramón Labañino, confined in Beaumont, Texas, and to Alicia Jrapko and Tanya Cole, of the Committee Free the Five of United States,they were denied to visit Gerardo Hernández in the prison of Lompoc.

The Five Cubans already suffered 17 months of solitary confinement, after their arrest on September 12 1998,in Miami, and their lawyers were deprived from the access to the evidences of the case, in frank violation of the rights that back up the North American legislation.

Leonard Weinglass, lawyer of Antonio Guerrero, one of the Five Cubans has outlined before this new violation: "None of them should be in solitary confinement. It is totally unnecessary and unjustified since they are model prisoners."

We request all men and honest women of the world who are opposed to the imprisonment of our five comrades to write immediately to the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington. The address of the Federal Bureau of Prisons is: 320 First St., N.W. Washington DC, 20534. The telephone number 202-307-3198.

This new outrage, infringing of the most elementary rights of the comrades should be denounced by all ways and means within our reach. Let us impede with our quick action the extension of this new injustice.

CUBAN INSTITUTE OF FRIENDSHIP WITH THE PEOPLES

Havana, MARCH 9/2003


URGENT STATEMENT BY THE CUBAN PARLIAMENT

As of February 28th, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González have once more been placed in solitary confinement, locked up all day and denied contact with other prisoners and the outside world.

They have been forbidden to receive any visits - including those of their attorneys and Cuban consular officials - and their telephone privileges withdrawn, completely depriving them of communication with not only their attorneys but their families as well.

By blocking access between the Five and their defense attorneys, the Government of the United States is violating the basic principles and norms of law.

The authorities knew that the attorneys were meeting with their clients and had made the necessary arrangements to meet with them in the coming week to review the documents for their defense to be presented before the Eleventh Circuit Court in Atlanta no later than April 7th. This action was adopted by Washington with the deliberate intention of impeding a fair appeals process.

In this crucial stage when the attorneys need to focus their attention on the appeal briefs, not only are they seriously obstructed from doing so, but they are obliged to waste time in unsuccessful attempts to communicate with their clients.

We condemn this new development and demand that our five Cuban compatriots are granted access to their attorneys and given the right to meet with them once again.

The Cuban National Assembly
Havana, March 9th, 2003

More information www.antiterroristas.cu

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