Cuban Five Defense Requests they be Transferred to Florida or Freed on Bail
Havana (PRWEB) March 16, 2003 –
On March 12th, 2003 an urgent motion was presented to the Southern Florida District Court requesting an immediate end to the arbitrary solitary confinement imposed as of February 28th upon Antonio Guerrero, Fernando GonzÃ¡lez, RamÃ³n LabaÃ±ino, RenÃ© GonzÃ¡lez and Gerardo HernÃ¡ndez.
The motion requests that the defendants be transferred to the Southern District of Florida or freed on bail during their appeals process, and in either case be permitted to count on an effective defense without government hindrance.
The motion underlines the measures adopted by US Government against the Five that totally inhibits communication with their defense attorneys, even by telephone, knowing fully that such communication is indispensable at this stage of their appeals process to prepare documents for no later than April 7th. This action therefore clearly seeks to obstruct the legal process, denying the rights of the defendants and their defenders and thereby violating the Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States.
The Defense has requested that the Court grant them a hearing to consider the motion.
EXCERPTS FROM THE EMERGENCY MOTION (1)
Gerardo, Antonio, RenÃ©, Fernando and RamÃ³n have been again removed from the general population and placed in solitary confinement, where they are denied access to all visitors and telephone contacts, including contact with counsel. They are denied access to legal materials and personal effects, and deprived of normal institutional rights.
Arbitrarily placing the Five in special housing with little or no contact with the outside world at this point in the process of appeal plainly deprives them of:
-their Fifth Amendment right to due process of law,
-their Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of appellate counsel, and
-their Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
Renewed placement of Gerardo, Antonio, RenÃ©, Fernando and RamÃ³n in administrative segregation has nothing to do with any misconduct on their part. It is, at best, another impermissible attempt to break their indefatigable spirit or punish them for theirs letter-writing campaign and the growing support they have received in the international community. It is, at worst, another attempt to interfere with their ability to prepare properly and assist counsel in the next round of judicial proceedings.
The defendants have never violated any order of Court and have never violated any rule or direction by any United States Marshal or any officer of the Bureau of Prisons. The defendants have scrupulously observed and complied with all orders and Court procedures and have acted respectfully towards the authority of this Court and its judgments.
These recent actions by the government, therefore, have the additional effect of increasing the severity of the sentences imposed by the Court.
According to the Government of the United States, the imposition of the Special Administrative Measures (SAM) sanctions against the Five was generally relying on Part 501.2 which is applicable “to prevent disclosure of classified information”.
It is inconceivable that after four and one-half years of being incarcerated the defendants would only now possess or have access to any classified materials, or that they would only now be considered a threat to disclose such information.
The government is simply and quite transparently using every weapon it has in its formidable arsenal to crush Mr. Campa and his co-defendants.
Gerardo, Antonio, RenÃ©, Fernando and RamÃ³n right to appeal and to effective assistance of counsel on appeal are in direct jeopardy due to the government’s actions in this case.
The defense attorneys request the Southern District Court of Florida to order that they be transferred to a facility within the Southern District of Florida, where they may be able to exercise their Sixth Amendment right to counsel, or release them on an appropriate bond pending appeal, so that they may also be free from governmental actions designed to interfere with their right to effective assistance of counsel.
(1) The motion was originally filed on behalf of Fernando Gonzalez Llort, a.k.a. Ruben Campa as Defendant CampaÂ´s Emergency Motion for Transfer to the Southern District of Florida Pending Appeal or, in the Alternative, for Release on Bond Pending Appeal. The rest of the defendants joined this motion.
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