We, representatives of the Free the Miami Five, the Irish National Campaign seeking Justice for the Miami Five, are here today, September 12th to draw the attention of the public and the media to their case, as they begin their 14th year of unjust imprisonment in US jails, for the sole crime of fighting Florida based Cuban terrorist groups.
Their convictions were the result of a manipulated trial and are unsafe. We share this belief with former Presidents Jimmy Carter (USA) and Mary Robinson (Ireland), along with Amnesty International and the United Nations panel on Arbitrary Detentions.
The Atlanta District Court of Appeals formed a similar opinion, until its decision was hurriedly revised, and the US Supreme Court declined to examine the case in spite of an unprecedented number of petitions, including one from 54 Irish parliamentarians, which shows the wide spread level of support they enjoy both in Ireland and internationally.
But numerous international appeals from parliaments, government ministers, citizens groups, trade unions and legal experts for justice and a fair treatment have also been unsuccessful. While in prison they have been subjected to additional punishment and two of the wives have been repeatedly refused visas to visit their husbands.
US lawyers for the Five have presented compelling arguments for immediate Habeas Corpus relief. Using the Freedom of Information Act, it was revealed that the US government paid thousands of dollars to Miami TV, radio and print journalists to write and print prejudiced and biased articles against the Five and Cuba at the same time they were conducting a prosecution trial against them in a US court.
Today we want to highlight the case of Rene Gonzalez, the first of the Miami Five to serve his full sentence of fifteen years, who is due for release October 7th. Rene was also sentenced to 3 years probation and is to fulfil this requirement in the US, where his physical integrity will be at risk. We ask that he be allowed to return to Cuba and join his family.
Today, the Irish Free the Miami Five Campaign is launching a programme of actions in the months of September and October to increase pressure for an end to this gross miscarriage of justice.
We urge you to support the Miami 5 and join us in calling on President Obama to use his presidential powers to release these men and facilitate their safe return home to their people and their families.
Leinster House, 12 September 2011, 12:30 p.m.