Community and Religious Groups Call for Release of Five Cubans Held in US Prisons March 5th NYC Community Event to Mark Cuban Five’s Appeal

March 5th, 2004 @ 6:30 pm Local 1199, Martin Luther King Auditorium 310 W. 43rd Street

The Free the Five Committee, a coalition of diverse community, religious and Latin American groups, will hold a community event to demand the release of five Cubans held unjustly in US prisons for the last five years. The event is scheduled for March 5th @ 6:30 pm at Local 1199’s Martin Luther King Auditorium at 310 W. 43rd Street.  

Speakers will include Orlando Requeijo Gual, the newly appointed Ambassador of Cuba to the United Nations, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, writer Rosemari Mealey, Attorney Michael Smith of the National Lawyers Guild, and the Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., IFCO/Pastors for Peace.

“With the growing hostility of the Bush administration towards Cuba, there has never been a more important time to support the Cuban people and above all, the Cuban Five.  The case of the Five has reached a critical point and we are calling upon all friends of Cuba to attend this important event,” said Teresa Gutierrez, coordinator of the New York Free the Five committee.

The Cuban Five, Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González, are all serving extremely long prison terms for the “crime” of trying to prevent terrorist attacks executed on their country of Cuba. They were tried and sentenced in Miami, where, their lawyers and supporters contend, the Five were unable to receive a fair trial. The case is currently on appeal before the 11th Circuit and the Five’s lawyers will present oral arguments in Miami on March 10th.

The case of the five Cubans held in U.S. prisons has reached international attention, with political leaders and intellectuals such as Cynthia McKinney, Noam Chomsky, the Vice-President of Congo, and members of British Parliament all supporting a new trial for the Cuban Five. Noted author Alice Walker recently called the treatment of the Five “a miscarriage of justice.”

Other groups such as Amnesty International have also called for the US government to grant visas to the wives of the Five in order to visit their husbands who are housed in maximum security prisons in Colorado, California, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.

Committees in support of the Cuban Five have formed in more than one hundred countries and twenty cities in the United States. They plan to place a full-page advertisement in the New York Times calling for a new trial for the Five and visitation rights for their families. The Department of Treasury recently froze funds for this ad campaign.

Members of the press may also arrange interviews with coordinators of the committee including lawyers working with the case prior to the event.

Contact: Teresa Gutierrez, 917-328-6470
Jennifer Wager, 917-499-4882



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