A U.N. human rights group has concluded that the trial in Miami and subsequent imprisonment of five alleged Cuban spies were flawed.
The U.S. detention of five Cubans convicted in a Miami trial of being spies is arbitrary and in violation of international law, according to a U.N. panel ruling obtained by The Associated Press Thursday.
The judgment by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that the Cubans—convicted in 2001 on charges of trying to infiltrate U.S. military bases and Cuban exile groups in South Florida—were denied full access to evidence and to their lawyers.
The working group is one of several sections within the Geneva-based U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Its makeup was not immediately known but its top official, Leila Zerrougui, an Algerian magistrate, has the title of Special Reporter.
Zerrougui told the AP by phone from Algeria that she could not comment on the decision because it was sent to the U.S. government for comment.
The Herald’s efforts to reach some of the Miami prosecutors and defense lawyers involved in the trial were unsuccessful Thursday.
The ruling, which cannot be enforced under international law, urged the U.S. government to ``adopt the necessary steps to remedy the situation, in conformity with principles stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.’‘
In its ruling, the panel found that the Cubans’ trial ``did not take place in the climate of objectivity and impartiality which is required in order to conclude on the observance of the standards of a fair trial.’‘
The ruling concluded that these failings ``are of such gravity that they confer the deprivation of liberty of these five persons an arbitrary character.’‘
Geraldo Hern�ndez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonz�lez and Rene Gonz�lez were arrested in September 1998 as part of the so-called Wasp Network.
They are serving sentences ranging from 15 years to life.
The Cuban government has been carrying on a publicity campaign defending the five men