Friday, July 13, 2012

U.S. Blocks Consular and Legal Visits of Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo

by ICFC5

This page is also available in: Spanish

Once again an additional punishment has been inflicted upon Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, one of the Cuban 5 anti-terrorist fighters unjustly imprisoned in the United States for almost 14 years. On Saturday July 7 Cuban consuls  were not allowed to enter the prison  and on Monday July 9 his lawyer, Martin Garbus, was also denied a legal visit  having to resort instead to enter as a regular visitor. This meant that Garbus could not enter the prison with any legal documents for Gerardo’s current appeal or any pens or writing paper.

The International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 denounces this new arbitrary measure against Gerardo. It seems that it is not enough for the US government to keep 4 innocent men in prison and another under a punitive supervised probation, now they add more impediments to elementary legal and human rights.

We also demand the US government  grant immediate visa to Adriana Perez to visit Gerardo in prison and to allow Rene Gonzalez to immediately return home to his loved ones.

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba 

One of the five antiterrorist fighters unjustly imprisoned in the United States, Hero of the Republic of Cuba, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, has been subject  of a new arbitrariness by the authorities of that country, aiming at hindering his legal process.

Last Saturday, July 7th, the Cuban officers who had been already authorized by the State Department to carry out a consular visit to Gerardo, were not able to fulfill it, under the supposed argument that the memorandum of the Chief of the penitentiary center Victorville, in California, authorizing their entrance to the prison, was not available at the reception desk. This fact powerfully calls the attention  when, in addition to the procedures followed by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington with the State Department to get the authorization for this visit, Gerardo himself had reconfirmed with the prison´s authorities that everything was in order.

Additionally, last July 9th, lawyer Martin Garbus, member of Gerardo´s defense team, who had scheduled a legal visit to review, together with Gerardo, the documentation related to the current collateral process of appeal, was not able to do it with the same pretext that the memorandum of authorization of the chief of prison was not at the reception desk. Garbus could finally visit Gerardo, thanks to the fact that his name was on the visitor´s list; however, and given the conditions imposed to the type of visit he was authorized to, without a legal character, he could not bring in the documentation our Hero should read and sign, and neither met with him under the appropriate conditions.

This is not the first time events like this one occur. They have taken place systematically during every key moment of Gerardo´s legal process. Just to mention a few examples: in 2010, during the preparations of the collateral appeal, known as Habeas Corpus, the penitentiary authorities denied Gerardo the possibility to be visited by his lawyer Leonard Weinglass in two occasions, and deliberately delayed the delivery of his legal mail, which prevented his participation in the reviewing. In 2003, Gerardo was isolated in a punishment cell prior to the presentations of his direct appeal.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs denounces this new maneuver by US authorities, aiming at hindering Gerardo´s process of appeal, depriving him from one of the few rights he has as a prisoner in the United States.

Gerardo has been sent to solitary confinement several times without justification; he´s had repeated difficulties with his personal and legal mail; his wife, Adriana, has not been granted visa to visit him and they have not been able to conceive a child. During his long and unjust imprisonment, on charges for crimes he did not commit and have never been proved, his rights have been violated repeatedly.

Cuba will not stop denouncing to the world these violations and will not cease the efforts to achieve the return to the Homeland of Gerardo and his other four brothers unjustly imprisoned and retained in the United States for almost 14 years.

Havana July 12th, 2012

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