Ruben Campa, Rene Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Luis Medina and Antonio Guerrero were arrested in Florida and were tried and convicted of espionage and conspiracy. They were accused of spying on Cuban-American exile leaders and convicted in December of 2001. Last year, a federal court overturned their convictions. But the US government has not released them. We speak with Leonard Weinglass, attorney for the Cuban 5. [includes rush transcript]
In 1998, Ruben Campa, Rene Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Luis Medina and Antonio Guerrero were arrested in Florida and were tried and convicted of espionage and conspiracy. They were accused of spying on Cuban-American exile leaders and convicted in December of 2001. Last year, their convictions were overturned by a Federal Appellate court in Atlanta. The group is known as the Cuban five. We’re joined in studio by one of their attorneys—Leonard Weinglass.
- Leonard Weinglass. Attorney for the Cuban Five
AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined in the studio by Leonard Weinglass, who is a civil rights attorney and one of the lawyers for the Cuban Five, who Ricardo Alarcon, the President of the National Assembly, just referred to. Explain what is their situation today.
LEONARD WEINGLASS: Well, they remain in prison, despite the fact that one year ago a court, a circuit court, of the 11th Circuit, ruled that they should be — their conviction should be set aside. But the government, in an extraordinary move, appealed that decision to the full court. We reargued their case on February 14. We’re now waiting for a new decision.
AMY GOODMAN: And “they” are who?
LEONARD WEINGLASS: The five are five men who came to the United States to Miami from Cuba in order to monitor the activities of terror groups that had inflicted life loss, property loss on Cuba over the last ten years in the ’90s. And they were not seeking any military secrets of the United States, but they were arrested and convicted of espionage.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And in terms of the length of time that it’s taken on the appeals process, is this normal or has this been an extended period?
LEONARD WEINGLASS: Well, they’ve served so far eight years in prison. As they sit now in prison, they are presumed innocent, and we’re waiting for the final decision. But their situation is unique and unusual. Cubans have been treated differently in our system of justice, as a result of what you’ve seen in the last 48 hours in Miami. This is a very hostile atmosphere. It’s a place where they never should have been tried, so found by the court. And so, we’re hoping that this will be rectified and that they’ll be sent home.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Leonard Weinglass, the anniversary of the court decision is August 9, and we’re going to continue to have this discussion about the Cuban Five. I want to thank you very much for being with us.