Cuba Five appeal denied

In a 10-2 decision released late on Aug. 9, the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia, turned down an appeal on behalf of the “Cuban Five,” a group of Cubans sentenced to lengthy prison terms in 2001 for allegedly seeking to carry out espionage in the US. Their lawyers said the Cubans shouldn’t have been tried in Miami, where sentiment against Cuba’s leftist government made a fair trial impossible. A three-judge panel of the same appeals court sided with the Cuban Five in a decision exactly one year earlier, on Aug. 9, 2005, but the full court overturned that ruling on Oct. 31 and, in an unusual move, agreed to have all 12 members hear the appeal

The defendants and the Cuban government say they were not spying on the US government but on rightwing groups in Florida that were plotting terrorist acts against Cuba. Lawyers for the Cuban Five plan to file a separate appeal arguing that the convictions should be overturned for lack of evidence. (Miami Herald, Aug. 11) The court’s rejection of the first appeal was a result of “pressures by the administration [of US president George W. Bush] and the counterrevolutionary mafia in Miami,” Cuban international relations head Fernando Remirez de Estenoz charged in Havana on Aug. 11. (Univision, Aug. 11 from AFP)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Aug. 13

See our last posts on the Cuba and the Cuba Five case.