Wednesday, February 22, 2012

'Prison Was Bad But Supervised Liberty is Insulting'

February 16, 2012

Philip Horowitz, René González’ lawyer: "Prison was bad but supervised liberty is insulting"

CUBAN anti-terrorist Rene González Sehwerert has completed four months of his supervised liberty on February 7. That day we talked with his lawyer Philip Horowitz for close to half an hour.

During the interview, Horowitz confirmed that he has spent the last four months working on a new motion. René had already presented one before Judge Joan Lenard prior to his release, which she rejected on the basis that it was premature. The aim is to present the judge with evidence of René’s excellent behavior during his probationary period thus far so that he can return to Cuba permanently in the near future.

Clearly, Horowitz could not define the date of this near future. He described the situation as being like a baseball game, "You never know how long it will last, you play each inning but there is no set time for its end. The motion will be submitted shortly, but once the judge has it, there is no timeline for her decision. It depends on when she reviews it, then the government has to respond, then we do and it finally depends on the judge’s decision.

Asked about the cruelty of the delay in such a simple step in the case of a man 55 years of age, who has already completed a long and unjust sentence, the lawyer commented:

"The 13 years in prison were really bad but the four months separated from his wife, daughters, family, parents and his homeland are insulting."

Horowitz is confident that the court will not ignore the fact that, while he has U.S. citizenship, René is a Cuban citizen and is having to endure an enforced separation from his family.

The new motion is not based solely on these aspects and René’s good behavior. Fears for the Cuban hero’s personal safety, given that he is forced to reside in an area where the terrorist groups that the Five were monitoring move about freely, remains a fundamental argument.

According to Horowitz there is a lot of fear for René’s safety when a person in a high-ranking position in the U.S. House of Representatives – Ileana Ross Lethinen, who accused René of serious charges on her official website, falsely declares that he has American blood on his hands. This is designed to turn public opinion against René by suggesting that he is some kind of murderer, but the only blood he has had on his hands is that of someone who cuts himself while shaving. "These lies affect René’s security and this is the number one issue we are battling with," the lawyer noted.


At one point in the conversation, which also covered the Habeas Corpus situation of the Five, details of René’s supervised liberty, his health and the impossibility of his having access to medical insurance; as well as other cruel and absurd restrictions like those preventing him seeing his wife or brother Roberto, who made an extremely valuable contribution to the defense team and cannot travel to see him due to serious health problems, Horowitz surprised us with an unexpected comment:

"One of the questions you haven’t asked, and a very common one that I am asked all the time in the United States, is where René is living. I would never state that. And not because I don’t have confidence in you, I trust everyone in this room and I would entrust that information to everyone living in Cuba, but for René’s safety I cannot make this information public."

It was a question we would never ask him but this was the response with which he chose to give at the end of the conversation. With it, Philip Horowitz, René González Sehwerert’s lawyer, expressed in many ways the absurdity of the Cuban hero’s permanence in the United States since he was released from prison four months ago.

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