The Guardian March 19, 2003


The Cuban five placed in solitary

The five Cuban political prisoners in the US were suddenly and without 
justification thrown into solitary confinement on March 3. They had already 
been separated into different prisons. It is not known how long the 
punishment will last.

Prison authorities have not given the official reason for their illegal 
confinement in "the hole", but apparently it is a decision from the Federal 
Bureau of Prisons in Washington, and has the markings of direct political 
repression against the Five.

Leonard Weinglass, appeals attorney for Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 
Five in Florence Colorado prison, said, "None of them belongs in solitary 
confinement. It is completely unjustified and unnecessary as all of them 
are model prisoners."

Weinglass has urged supporters of the Cuban Five to write immediately to 
the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington. We ask that you do not write 
to the individual prisons, as they are not responsible for the confinement 
order.

Weinglass noted that the Black Panther prisoners in the US were similarly 
rounded up into solitary right after 9/11.

The Cuban Five have been imprisoned since September 1998 when they were 
arrested by the FBI on trumped-up charges of espionage on the United 
States. In reality they were prosecuted by the US for defending their 
country of Cuba from US-sponsored and supported terrorism that emanates 
from Miami.

The Five had lived in Miami since the early 1990s where they were on a 
vital mission of monitoring anti-Cuban terrorist groups and preventing 
violence against their country. More than 3400 Cubans have been killed by 
the anti-Cuba violence.

Reverend Geoff Bottoms who had flown in from Blackpool, England to see one 
of the five, Ramsn Labaqino in Beaumont federal prison in Texas, was told 
without explanation that Ramsn was not permitted visitors.

Visitors to Gerardo Hernandez Jrapko in Lompoc prison were told, "It is 
possible they will not get any more visitors other than their family in the 
future."

Supporters of the Cuban Five are asked to protest to the Bureau of Prisons 
at their unjust and unnecessary solitary confinement. Their exemplary 
behaviour does not warrant this kind of treatment. There is reason to 
believe they are singled out because they are political prisoners.

It is also essential that their attorneys have full and unrestricted access 
to their clients, especially at this critical time when they are preparing 
for the April 7 appeals court hearing in Atlanta.

Weinglass was unable to speak with Antonio for two days although he had 
authorised collect calls from him. It is undoubtedly very stressful for 
their family members.

They had only just returned to Cuba, after coming to the US to visit their 
loved ones. The US Government had delayed issuing the families' entry visas 
for more than six months. Two of the wives, Olga Salanueva and Adriana 
Perez are still prohibited from entering the US.

* * *
The address of the Federal Bureau of Prisons is: 320 First St. N.W. Washington DC 20534. Phone: (0011 1) 202-307-3198. Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

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