Friday, March 20, 2009

Ricardo Alarcon Denounces Silence on Cuban Five Support

March 19, 2009

Alarcon Denounces Silence on Cuban Five Support


Ricardo Alarcón, president of Cuba's Parliament, speaking in Havana, denounced the U.S. and international corporate media for their silence regarding the massive international support for the petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of the Cuban Five.

During a tribute by Cuba's National Assembly members on National Press Day, Alarcón spoke about anti-terrorist fighters Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and René González, who have been serving unjust, disproportionate sentences in U.S. prisons for the last 10 years.

On March 6, the defense team for the Five submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court a total of 12 amicus curiae briefs backing the petition submitted January 30 asking the court to hear their case, Alarcón noted.

The submission of so many "friends of the court" briefs is unprecedented in U.S. legal history, being the largest number ever submitted to the Supreme Court, Alarcón affirmed.

He emphasized that the 12 briefs included 10 signed by Nobel laureates José Ramos Horta, president of Timor Leste; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; Rigoberta Menchú; José Saramago; Wole Soyinka; Zhores Alferov; Nadine Gordimer; Günter Grass; Darío Fo and Mairead Maguire.

Similar documents were signed by a plenum of the Mexican Senate; the Panamanian National Assembly; Mary Robinson, former Irish president (1992-97) and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002), among others.

Alarcón accused the corporate media of trying to silence and sweep under the rug this international support, which in this case, also means that each signatory to an amicus curiae brief must pay the Supreme Court $2,000 for it to be accepted.

Such documents have to be presented by a U.S. lawyer, and in this case, all of the lawyers waived their fees (an average of $30,000), also an unprecedented event, the parliamentary president added.

Alarcón also noted that one of the Five, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, is a member of the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC), a Cuban press colleague, arbitrarily sentenced to two life sentences plus 15 years in prison.

Gerardo merited special recognition on Cuban Press Day, he commented. (ACN)

Translated by Granma internacional

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