London Commission of Inquiry to hear key witnesses from Cuba and beyond in the case of the Cuban Five
René González, former Cuban Five prisoner to attend London event
International personalities including Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, actors Martin Sheen and Emma Thompson
René González, the first and only member of the Miami Five [Ed. Note: the Cuban Five is known as the Miami Five in Britain] to have been released after completing his 15 year sentence in the United States, has announced that he will come to London to give evidence to an International Commission of Inquiry on 7 and 8 March 2014.
The Miami Five are five Cuban men who were jailed in the United States in 1998 for attempting to prevent terrorist attacks against the Caribbean island.
René will be joined in London by family members of the Five, victims of terrorism against Cuba, lawyers, politicians and campaigners from Cuba and across the world, including Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purple.
The Commission will hear testimony from around 20 key witnesses, including U.S. defence attorney Martin Garbus, representatives from international human rights organisation Amnesty International, and from Miami Five family members such as wives of the Five, Olga Salanueva and Elizabeth Palmeiro.
The Commission will be presided over by distinguished international jurists, including former Chief Justice of India Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal, former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa Zakeria Mohammed Yacoob, and Philippe Texier, the former Chair of the Supreme Court of France.
There will be testimony from specialists on the range of measures taken to defend Cuba against the threat of terrorist attacks, as well as testimony from Cuban and international victims of U.S.-based terrorism.
In his New Year message, René González urged support for the International Commission of Inquiry and said:
“When we were imprisoned 15 years ago, our captors never imagined that from all corners of the world people like you would take up our cause. Instead of suffering defeat we have become stronger. During this time we have suffered hardships and lost people close to us. But our spirits never broke, because we knew we could count on people from all over the world like you. Your solidarity and sense of justice has kept us and our families strong.”
Director of Britain’s Cuba Solidarity Campaign, the hosting organisation, Rob Miller said:
“The International Commission is set to be one of the most important events in the long history of this case. Its staging in London, attended and endorsed by so many important personalities from across the world, means the Commission’s deliberations and its findings will have an important impact on the US administration and President Obama, who has the ability to end this injustice immediately.”
The International Commission is the major event of the campaigning organisation Voices for the Five, which has brought together hundreds of international celebrities, including John Le Carré, Emma Thompson, Danny Glover, Lord Rowan Williams, Martin Sheen, Noam Chomsky, Günter Grass, Peter Capaldi and Dame Vivienne Westwood. They have been joined by thousands who have posted messages of support to the campaigning website.
A number of associated events will also take place, including a major international concert at the Barbican Hall in London featuring acclaimed Cuban musician and star of the Buena Vista Social Club Eliades Ochoa and his group Cuarteto Patria, alongside other international performers and guests, as well as screenings and exhibitions.
The two day International Commission of Inquiry into the Case of the Miami Five will take place on 7 and 8 March 2014, at the Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL. For more information visit http://voicesforthefive.com/
Gloria La Riva, coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, talks about the Commission here: