NURIA BARBOSA LEÓN
Testifying before the United Nations Human Rights Council, Adriana Pérez once again demanded a definitive resolution to the case of her husband, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, who is serving an unjust prison sentence in the United States, as a result of his efforts to prevent terrorism attacks on Cuba.
She explained that Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino remain imprisoned for the same reason, while the other members of the Cuban Five, René González and Fernando González have returned to Cuba after completing their prison sentences in full.
"Throughout this time, these men have suffered torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. Their trial was affected by corruption and political motivations, a clear example of which is the suppression and manipulation of evidence," she said.
Adriana affirmed that despite repeated condemnations of this injustice in the Human Rights Council, the U.S. government has refused to free the Five and the corporate media remains silent on the issue, although many important individuals and organizations, including parliamentarians, intellectuals. Nobel Prize winners and heads of state have called for an end to the injustice.
"This is the Human Rights Council; it is the responsibility of this body to find an immediate, definitive, humanitarian solution, to end this suffering," she said.
Prior to the hearing held at UN headquarters in Geneva, Adriana explained the major violations of civil and human rights to which the Five were subjected, over more than 15 years of arbitrary incarceration, saying, "My husband is condemned to die in prison, if Obama does not intervene."
Representatives of 15 countries also took the floor to express solidarity with the Five and insisted on the need to intensify efforts internationally to win the release of the three remaining prisoners.
Adriana recalled that in May of 2005, the United Nations commission on arbitrary detentions, found the arrest of the Five to be arbitrary, given the lack of objectivity and impartiality demonstrated during the trial, and called upon the U.S. to respect international law.
Gerardo was arrested September 12, 1998, along with Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René. In 2001, the South Florida District Federal Court found them guilty of charges which were never substantiated during the trail, since the work of the Cuban patriots was directed solely toward preventing terrorist acts against Cuba, organized by groups based in the Miami area.
Adriana additionally held a meeting with UN ambassadors from the Latin American-Caribbean group; conversed with Vatican representative Nuncio Silvano Tomasi; Olav Fikse Tveit, secretary general of the World Council of Churches; as well as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri.
In all of the conversations, Adriana emphasized the fact that the there has still been no response to the habeas corpus petition filed by Gerardo more than two years ago, and outlined the damage done to the mental and physical health of her husband, and his co-defendants, as a result of the many years of incarceration, calling on the U.S. government to take an ethical, humanitarian position and release the remaining three prisoners.
Also early in the month of March, in Lisbon, Elizabeth Palmeiro, married to Ramón Labañino, spoke to legislators, describing the case, the violations of human rights it entails and the need for an immediate resolution.
Antonio Filipe, vice president of the nation’s Parliament, reiterated his solidarity with the Cuban Five and praised efforts to disseminate information about the case internationally.
Elizabeth also attended a parliamentary Portugual-Cuba friendship group and spoke with Deputy Sergio Sousa Pinto, President of the legislature’s Foreign Relations Commission. She was awarded a special medal by the city of Almada’s Council President Joaquim Judas.
She additionally met with Ilda Figueredo, president of the Portuguese Peace and Cooperation Council, and leaders a number of political parties.