Tuesday 1 January 2008

NZers call for US to release Cuban 5

Dozens of New Zealand supporters of civil rights have added their names to a letter being delivered to the US consulate in Auckland at 4pm today demanding the release of five Cubans jailed in the USA. “Their so-called crime was to gather information about terrorist groups that operate on US soil and carry out attacks in Cuba,” said Mike Treen on behalf of the NZ Cuba Friendship Society. “Their actions helped prevent terrorist actions and protected innocent civilians. It is a travesty of justice for them to remain in jail for so long.” The letter signed by union leaders, law professors, student leaders and others reads: June 12, 2008 John Desrocher Consul General U.S. Consulate General in Auckland Private Bag 92022 Auckland Dear Mr Desrocher, We are writing to add our voices to thousands around the world who oppose the June 4 ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which upheld the convictions of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González. We ask that you pass on to your government our call for their immediate release. The Cuban Five, as these five men are known, were engaged in a peaceful mission to stop Miami-based organisations from continuing to carry out terrorist attacks against Cuba. Following their arrest they were held for 17 months in brutal conditions of solitary confinement and near-total isolation to hinder the preparation of their defence. At their trial there was not a single page of classified information produced showing espionage or any action directed against the U.S. government. Without any proof, frame-up charges of conspiracy were used to convict the five. They were tried and convicted in an atmosphere of hype and hysteria in Miami, Florida. These men have been held in jail now for ten years. Continuation of their imprisonment is an absolute injustice. Therefore, we urge the United States government to free the Cuban Five now! Yours faithfully - Dr Jane Kelsey, professor of law, University of Auckland - Laila Harre, National Secretary, National Distribution Union - Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union - Mike Ingpen, Secretary, South Pacific and Oceanic Council of Trade Unions (SPOCTU) - Dr David V Williams, Professor of Law, University of Auckland - John Minto, Spokesperson, Global Peace and Justice, Auckland - Dave Wickham, Project Co-ordinator, CTU Centre for Food & Beverage Workforce Development - Omar Hamed, International Affairs Officer, Auckland University Students Association - Paul Piesse, President, Alliance Party - Grant Morgan, RAM Chair, Auckland - Pat Bolster, Wellington - Louisa Jones, National Industry Organiser, NZ Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union - Kathryn Tucker, Unite Organiser, Hamilton - Ina Lawrence, NZ Cuba Friendship Society, Auckland - Tom Buckley, Unite Organiser, Auckland - Roger Fowler, RAM Co-organiser - Joe Carolan, Organiser, Socialist Aotearoa - John Flygenring, Christchuch - Cameron Walker, student - Lyn Doherty, Project Co ordinator, Ohomairangi Trust - Hana Spierer, Alt TV Producer - Nico Woodward, student - Dr Gael Donald, Westfono Healthcare, Auckland - Julie Webb Pullman, Wellington - Ian Powell, Wellington - Janet Roth, Auckland - Paul Bruce , Greater Wellington Regional Councillor - Adrian Guerrero, Carla Batista, Katia Cisternas, Victor Batista, Tomas Guerrero, Nicolas Guerrero, Nadia Batista, Cristian Batista, Enrique Batista, Antonia Marchesse (from Latin America living in NZ) - Oliver Woods - RAM Co-organiser, Auckland - Helen Ritchie - Annalucia Vermunt, Communist League - Mike Tucker, Communist League - Nick Fowler, Young Socialists - John B. Turner, Waitakere - Susie Powell, teacher - Jane Bucholz, Auckland - Gillian Magee, National Distribution Union - Janfrie Wakim, Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Auckland - Christine Blance, Christchurch - Malcolm McAllister, teacher, Auckland - Joel Hildebrandt - Denis O'Connor - Paul Maunder, Greymouth - Ron R. Miller, Auckland - Jim Holdom, Hamilton - Jeremy Gorham, Business Manager, Mt Eden - Warren Brewer - Colin Pounder, Christchurch - Nick Laery, undergraduate student, University of Auckland Contact Mike Treen National Director, Unite Union Organiser, Postal Workers Union Aotearoa Ph: DD - 64 9 846 9485 Mobile - 64 29 525 4744 Ph: Office - 64 9 845 2132; Fax - 64 9 846 9509

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