The U.S. National Committee to free five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters jailed in the United States has announced a panel discussion with prominent intellectuals to present the truth about those men.
That organization, headquartered in the city of California, San Francisco, will hold the event on February 20 at the University of Maryland, with the objective of publicizing the case of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez.
The first four are completing harsh sentences for monitoring violent groups based in Miami that were planning terrorist actions similar to those that have left more than 3,400 victims in Cuba over the last 53 years.
Meanwhile, Rene Gonzalez was released from prison on October 7, 2011, after serving his 13-year sentence and is now facing an additional 3-year punishment of supervised release in the same city, in south Florida.
The members of the panel include Bill Norris, Ramon Labañino’s defense attorney; Kurt Schmoke, former dean of the Law School at Howard University; Brian Becker, coordinator of the anti-war ANSWER coalition and Jose Pertierra, the attorney representing Venezuela in its extradition request against terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.
The activity is meant to exert additional pressure on the U.S. government to free and allow the return to Cuba of the five, as they are internationally known.
The committee also distributed a message from Ramon Labañino, who revealed the mistreatment he experienced recently when he was transferred to a low-security prison in Miami.
Due to his good behavior, the Cuban anti-terrorist fighter was assigned to a less rigorous penitentiary in June, 2012, but the transfer was made effective on January 11, 2013.
According to Labañino, he was sent to the hole in total isolation when he arrived at the prison in Miami.
Thanks to calls from friends and efforts by the Cuban government, he was moved out of that place on January 22 and taken to FCI Jesup, a medium security prison in Georgia, where he is currently jailed.
“Once again, it was the solidarity and support from all of you (…) as well as the diligence and rapid action from the leadership of our country, and our attorneys, that was essential in this new event, so that the error of sending us to Miami could be corrected, and the stay in such restrictive and punitive conditions could be the least possible,” emphasized Labañino.
The Cuban Five were tried in Miami, amid a hostile media environment, aimed at manipulating the public opinion and persuading the jury in order to guarantee that they would be harshly sentenced.