Model letter on Miami Five to David Cameron:
10 Downing Street
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to ask you to make a humanitarian appeal to the Department of State on behalf of five Cuban men imprisoned in the United States and their families.
René, Gerardo, Antonio, Fernando and Ramon are five Cuban men who have been imprisoned in US jails for almost 14 years for infiltrating Miami based anti-Castro terrorist groups, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Cubans. They are serving sentences of between 15 years and double life following a trial in 2001. Their detention was declared both illegal and arbitrary in May 2005 by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, and Amnesty International expressed “grave concern” at the impartiality of the judicial process and the fairness of the trial in an October 2010 report.
In addition, the human rights of two of the prisoners, Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez and their wives Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez, have been further violated by the denial of normal visitation rights for more than thirteen years. Olga and Adriana have been denied visas on 10 separate occasions, and in the case of Olga Salanueva told never to apply again. The treatment of the five and their families has been described by Amnesty International as “contrary both to standards for the human treatment of prisoners and to a states’ obligation to protect family life.”
This case has gained widespread international support both from Nobel laureates, the World Council of Churches, parliamentarians and human rights organisations. In Britain, an EDM calling for their release and visitation rights in 2003 gained 111 signatures, and more than 120 MPs and British MEPs signed an Amicus Currae brief to the US Supreme Court requesting an appeal of their case in 2009. Unison, the TUC and British trade unions have also been supporting this case for the last ten years.
I hope that HMG might be prepared to make representations on their behalf as a humanitarian gesture since four of the men are now in their 14th year of imprisonment, and in the case of Rene Gonzalez, although having completed his 13 year term, must remain in Florida under supervised release for three years before being allowed home to Cuba or to see his wife.