Thursday, October 15, 2009

Judge Imposes 22-Year Sentence on Cuban Five Political Prisoner Antonio Guerrero

Havana. October 14, 2009

Judge imposes 22-year sentence on Antonio Guerrero

THE United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida imposed a new sentence on Antonio Guerrero, unjustly imprisoned for more that 11 years in Florence, Colorado, a prison dubbed by the Guinness World Records as the most secure prison in the world, with inmates isolated in solitary confinement for the majority of the day. It is labeled by some as the "Alcatraz of the Rockies" and has been called "a living tomb."

As it is known, Antonio had been initially sentenced by that same court to a life sentence plus 10 years. That sentence was considered excessive, contrary to the legal rules currently in force, and was thrown out by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which decided that the defendant did not gather or transmit any information related to U.S. national security.

The new sentence of 262 months (nearly 22-years) of prison time is the result of international solidarity movements and tenacious efforts by his defense counsel, Leonard Weinglass, and although it is not as absurdly excessive as the previous one, it is also unjust. It is time to intensify the struggle for the immediate freedom of our five compatriots.

This episode is one of many pieces of evidence confirming the absolute injustice of the process faced by these men, imprisoned in the United States only and exclusively for fighting anti-Cuban terrorism promoted by U.S. authorities. The irrational disproportion of the originally imposed sentences was one of the issues revisited by the defense, and in this respect, it was possible to reach a partial, limited and contradictory accomplishment. In 2008 the Court of Appeals in Atlanta ratified the unfair guilty verdicts of the Five, annulled the sentences of Antonio, Ramón and Fernando and remanded them for re-sentencing.

As an expression of the strange way of doing justice in that country, the Court of Appeals recognized the fact that, although Gerardo Hernández Nordelo deserves to be re-sentenced, they decided not to do just that and instead upheld his cruel sentence of two life sentences plus 15 years.

Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René are innocent and should never have been deprived of freedom. Every day that they remain in prison will be a shameful confirmation of the U.S Administration.’s complicity with terrorism.

Translated by Granma International

No comments: