Breaking the Silence | Peoples’ Tribunal & Assembly | Justice for the Cuban Five

5 Sep

Breaking the Silence | Peoples’ Tribunal & Assembly | Justice for the Five
Toronto City Hall, September 21st — 23rd, 2012.

* Your Participation
* Historical Context
* Attending
* Sponsors
* Endorsers

Attend the Peoples’ Tribunal & Assembly – come and witness directly the proceedings of a unique quasi-judicial rendering that seeks to expose to the public all that went awry with the proceedings and legal trial in South Florida of five Cuban prisoners.

What is the tribunal?

It is an international opinion tribunal independent from state authorities. The Tribunal may use international human rights law and precedents of common law.

What is the purpose of the Tribunal?

To challenge the mainstream media’s blackout so that they get involved in covering a story of what is very disturbing in the processes of the US justice system. The media has a choice either they cover an issue or they are complacent and tacitly ignore an injustice. It took a strong media to expose Watergate – the case of the Cuban Five is just as compelling– why the silence? Who gains from the silence?

Let’s Break the Silence!

That is why; the outcry of thousands of concerned citizens over the past 15 years comes to a head, here in Toronto, at the Peoples Tribunal, be part of it!

Who comprises the People’s Tribunal?

A panel of Magistrates of Conscience presides over the Tribunal. The Magistrates come form a wide cross section of highly respected members of the international community who bring their expertise to bear in hearing the case and rendering a final opinion.

How will the Tribunal be run?

The tribunal will take place on September 22nd. During the proceedings lawyers from Canada, Cuba and the US will provide details of the areas where there was the greatest miscarriage of justice in the courts of south Florida. The Tribunal will hear from impact witnesses and also experts from Europe, Canada, the US and Cuba. The families of the Cuban Five will bear testimony to their hardships concerning the barriers to prisoner rights and denial of visits imposed on them.

What is the final outcome of the Tribunal?

At the end of the proceedings the Magistrates of Conscience will render their decision, which will be published at the end of the session.

Historical Context

Almost 14 years ago, the Cuban Five – René González, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Fernando González – were falsely charged and wrongly convicted in a Miami courtroom of “conspiracy to commit espionage” against the U.S. on behalf of the Cuban government. Ever since the unjust conviction, the five Cubans have been held in separate U.S. prisons, often in solitary confinement.

In fact, the politically-motivated trial and conviction of the Cuban five had nothing to do with threats to U.S. security. The Cuban Five never conspired to commit espionage. They were on a mission to monitor and report on violent groups in Miami that are well known by the U.S. government to be responsible for terrorist acts against the Cuban people.

For more than 50 years, hundreds of attacks have been launched against Cuba by these extreme right-wing groups, whose aim is the violent overthrow of the Cuban government. Their campaign of bombings, assassinations and other attacks has left 3,478 Cubans dead and 2,099 seriously injured.

The Cuban Five were peacefully trying to do what U.S. law enforcement authorities have refused to do – prevent terrorism.

This horrific injustice against the Five has provoked an unprecedented campaign in the U.S., Canada and around the world to demand that their convictions be overturned and that they be granted immediate release.

As part of this international effort to achieve the freedom of the Cuban Five, a number of trade unions and solidarity groups from across Canada, in coordination with the Canadian Network on Cuba and La Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba, are convoking a Peoples’ Tribunal & Assembly on September 21-23, 2012 in Toronto, to shed new light on this egregious injustice and to build a broad public campaign to demand their freedom.

The Peoples’ Tribunal & Assembly aims:

* to act as a forum for education and for launching an appeal to get justice for the Cuban Five;

* to break the silence of the mainstream media about this case; and

* to map out the next steps of a broad and united campaign on the Cuban Five in Québec and across the rest of Canada.

The Peoples’ Tribunal, composed of prominent Canadian and international panelists, will hear from expert witnesses before rendering a ruling. Although the Tribunal’s ruling will not be legally or judicially binding, it will carry moral force and suasion of the outrage of concerned people across Canada and internationally.

Witnesses will testify to the suffering caused to the Cuban people and to others as a result of all the terrorist attacks against Cuba and Cuban interests. They will testify to the unjust trial in Miami, the U.S. government’s covert payments to journalists covering the trial, the horrendous sentences given to the Cuban Five and the violation of international law by the United States government regarding the inhumane treatment they have endured, the denial of visitation rights to family members and the U.S. government’s harbouring and protection of self-confessed anti-Cuban terrorists.

The Peoples’ Assembly will serve to develop and adopt an extensive plan of action to pressure the Canadian government to join the international demand urging U.S. President Obama to use his authority to immediately release the Cuban Five and allow them to return to their homeland.

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