Anti-Terrorist Fighters Arbitrarily Held, Reaffirms Cuba

Anti-Terrorist Fighters Arbitrarily Held, Reaffirms CubaGeneva, Mar 8. -Cuba denounced again before the UN Human Rights Council on Monday the arbitrary detention of five anti-terrorist Cuban fighters held in US prisons for 12 years now.

Speaking during a debate involving the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Working Group on Forced Dissapearances, Cuban delegate Juan Antonio Quintanilla highlighted attention given by the Group to his opinion 19/2005 regarding the case of the five anti-terrorist Cubans, whose detention was described as arbitrary.

He said that far from taking into consideration the Group's opinion, Washington maintained its actions of political manipulation.

"Now they are arguing that the apellate court had reached the conclusion that the defendants could be brought to an impartial trial in Miami and, in fact they were," he said.

"It was a proceeding full of irregularities and arbitrariness and those arguments are baseless," he said.

He said that their trial was politically motivated and held in a totally hostile venue; with the defendants denied access to 80 percent of the documents used to convict them and also denied regular contacts with their lawyers.

The Cuban delegate recalled that three prestigious judges of the Atlanta Court, in charge of handling the case, requested an overturn of the trial and a revocation of their sentences.

Quintanilla recalled that exactly a year later, the same Court ratified those sentences in a divided voting; it also refused to hold a new trial and ordered sending the case to the panel again to consider the remaining aspects.

"That unusual ruling confirms that the proceeding against The Five has not been assumed from a law perspective. They are arbitrarily held political prisoners subject to cruel, unfair conditions," he said.

Quintanilla argued that processes of re-sentencing three of The Five put forward by the US Government in its response to the Working Group represent a disguised solution to an uncolcealed reality.

"The only fair re-sentencing would be the immediate release of The Five, who are innocent," he said.

He also warned that the US Government is asking for the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to disallow the issue and eliminate it from its list.

"Cuba rejects such a possibility. The US authorities have not adopted the necessary measures to put an end to the situation that determined the conclusion 19/2005 of the Group," he said. (Prensa Latina)