The Italian association of democratic lawyers decided on November the 5th, 2009 to launch a petition to demand immediate freedom for the Cuban Five. The petition can be signed online here . The signatures will be sent to the President and Congress of the United States.
See below for petition text (historical):
To the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama
To the Congress of the United States of America
We express our consternation for the fact that five Cuban citizens Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and René Gonzalez continue being detained for more than eleven years in the United States, and for the refusal to concede the visa to their wives in order to permit a visit to them.
The facts do not, upon analysis, offer a legal basis for the most serious accusations made: conspiracy to commit murder (charged to Gerardo Hernandez only) and espionage (charged to all five). As for the first charge) there is no causal link between Hernandez’ behavior and the decision of Cuba, as a sovereign power, to defend itself by shooting down the two aircraft belonging to an exile organization which had clandestinely invaded Cuban air space. As for the second charge, an accusation of espionage cannot ignore the real nature of the five agents’ activity in Florida or the fact that none of the documents they had in their possession were classified as secret.
In fact, the five agents were not in the United States to obtain secret information regarding the security of the U.S., but rather to obtain information about the terrorist activities that have been conducted against Cuba over the years. These activities have caused over three thousand deaths, an untold number of mutilations and economic damage of considerable entity. The information that the five agents gathered was loyally transmitted by the Cuban government to U.S. authorities and anti-terrorism agencies.
The only response of the U.S. Government was to arrest the five agents on September 12th 1998. In that way the international obligation to cooperate in combating terrorist activities has been disattended.
We believe that there is no such thing as “good terrorism” and “bad terrorism”; any form of terrorism is a serious threat to civil society andmust be wiped out. States as well as ordinary citizens everywhere have the obligation to contribute to its elimination.
We also believe that the relations between Cuba and the United States, fifty years after the Cuban revolution, must move beyond the present stage of punitive measures and move forward along the road to reciprocal recognition and constructive dialogue.
For these reasons we ask the U.S. Government to grant full pardon and immediate liberty to the five Cuban agents, guilty only of having sought to defend their home country and humanity everywhere against terrorists.