The panel [Appellate Court] found there were unproven claims that LabaÃ±ino, Guerrero and Fernando GonzÃ¡lez were leaders of the spy network, collected or transmitted top secret information or took part in a drug-trafficking operation.
The decade-old case was steeped in controversy because prosecutors argued the Wasp spy network was linked to the Cuban government's 1996 shoot-down of two Brothers to the Rescue planes over the Florida Straits.
In a 2-1 vote, the panel upheld the central conviction and life sentence of the one defendant implicated by the Miami federal jury in that murder conspiracy, Gerardo Hernández. He was held responsible for the deaths of three Cuban Americans and a Cuban exile who were killed on Feb. 24, 1996, when Cuban fighter jets shot down two of their planes over international waters.
"Hernandez argues that his conviction should be reversed because the government failed to prove he intended the murder to occur within the jurisdiction of the United States, failed to prove that he knew of the object of the conspiracy, and failed to prove that he acted with malice aforethought,'' wrote appellate judge William H. Pryor Jr. in the 99-page ruling.
"Each of these arguments fails."
In Guerrero's case, the panel found that he deserved a new sentence because there was no evidence that top secret information was ``gathered and transmitted.''
In the United States, the San Francisco-based National Committee to Free the Cuba Five, which has called for their release, issued an angry response to the court's upholding of the convictions.
"This is a total outrage," said the committee's coordinator, Gloria La Riva. "That a terrorist like Luis Posada Carriles, who is being protected by the Bush administration, is allowed to walk the streets of Miami and these men kept in jails is incomprehensible.
"They should be freed immediately. They should have never been arrested. They were working to protect the Cuban and American people from terrorist attacks."
Source: FEDERAL COURTS
An appellate court in Atlanta ruled that the 2001 espionage convictions of five Cuban men must stand, but three of their sentences must be reconsidered.
Posted on Thu, Jun. 05, 2008
BY JAY WEAVER AND LUISA YANEZ
They were unregistered agents of a foreign government. Technically, that's illegal under the mundane U.S. law. As for Gerardo Hernández specifically, it must be said that that's the risk he ran when he decided to enter the U.S. under technically illegal terms. Nevertheless, the sentencing is wholly hypocritical to say the least when one looks at the case of Luis Posada Carriles who is a known terrorist and is walking the streets of the U.S. a totally free man and having never served time in the U.S. for his heinous crimes. I'm not advocating for punishing people mind you. I'm simply pointing out the imbalance in the ostensible neutral U.S. justice system. It's a farce.
Luis Posada Carriles
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles (born February 15, 1928) is a Cuban-born Venezuelan anti-Castro terrorist. A former CIA operative, Posada has been convicted in absentia of involvement in various terrorist attacks and plots in the Western hemisphere, including involvement in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed seventy-three people and has admitted to his involvement in other terrorist plots including a string of bombings in 1997 targeting fashionable Cuban hotels and nightspots. In addition, he was jailed under accusations related to an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000, although he was later pardoned by Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso in the final days of her term.
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And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)