Appeal for Cuban Five Heads to US Supreme Court
The "Cuban Five", arrested in 1998 and convicted by a Miami jury in 2001 on charges they had spied on prominent Cuban-American exile leaders and United States' military bases, are headed to court.
Lawyers for the men, known as the "Cuban Five," filed a petition Friday, saying their trial in Miami was unfairly prejudiced by the larger community.
"The pervasive and violent anti-Castro struggle of the Miami community would not only infect the jury with hostility but would cause jurors to fear for their (and their families') safety, livelihoods, and community standing if they acquitted," it said.
The petition asks the justices to throw out the verdicts and order a new trial for the five. Cuban leader Raul Castro has offered to exchange about 200 prisoners, believed by the United States to be political prisoners, for the five men.
There was no initial reaction to the court filing from the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of Florida. The government is expected to oppose the request for the high court to take up the matter.
A decision from the justices is expected this spring. If the case were added to the docket, oral arguments would be held in the fall.
The "Cuban Five" are Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, Ramon Labanino Salazar, Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert, Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez, and Fernando Gonzalez Llort.
An interview with their attorney, Richard Klugh, can be read at National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, here.
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North Tonawanda, New York, United States