René González Sehwerert: the everlasting punishment


By Yudith Madrazo Sosa

The gray autumn insists in prohibiting the light to shine through the crevices

René González Sehwerert, one of the Cuban Five

of hope. Since September the 12th, 1998, it only carries uneasiness and a succession of setbacks to the Cuban Five who since that date are unjustly imprisoned in the United States. Every year that has passed evokes another period of ignominy and arbitrary acts.

René González Sehwererert, one of them, now carries upon his shoulders the unbearable load of an everlasting punishment. When he is nearest to the spring, new hindrances stop him from satisfying his thirst of freedom and love, which has been accentuated trough more than a decade of incarceration for the mere crime of preventing terrorist acts against his people.

Next October the 7th, this Cuban terrorist fighter will complete his prison sentence, but is there a chance for him to untie himself from those chains? The United States government does not allow him to immediately return to his homeland and his dear ones. “Under which pretext?”, ask the astounded solidarity voices.

Because he was born in the USA, René was imposed on a three- year-term of supervised freedom. Seven moths ago, his lawyer Phil Horowitz presented a motion in order to modify the conditions of the supervised freedom. He asked, due to humanitarian reasons, that René be permitted to go back to Cuba to live with his family.

The District Judge Joan A Lenard denied the defendant’s motion last September, an act which is considered a new outrage against the Cuban terrorist fighter who now is forced to stay in the States –a country where he is believed to be a spy and a menace to the national security-  to serve the three-year- term of supervised freedom.

“We consider this as three more years of punishment. He has no close relatives in the United States”, said Horowitz during a press conference held in that country.

According to the Judge, Rene’s motion is premature, since the term of

supervised release does not commence until an individual is released from imprisonment and the Court  needs some amount of time to pass before properly evaluate the characteristics of the defendant once he has been out of prison.

René was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment as well as three years of supervised freedom which includes special conditions that prohibits him “from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals or groups such as

terrorists, members of organizations advocating violence, organized crime figures are known to be or frequent”.

As the Judge pointed out in her report, the Court must consider various

factors as part of the determination of whether modification is appropriate. The factors include “the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant; the need for the sentence imposed — to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct and protect the public from further crimes of the defendant (…)”.

Such arguments show how once again that René has been seized with brutality. Joan Lenard’s point of view accept the existence of terrorist groups in the United States, the same groups that the Cuban Five tried to penetrate as a way to save Cuban and even American people from their vandalistic actions.

People inside and outside the Island know about the prejudice of the anti-Cuba community in Miami against the Cuban Five. Then, why does the US government force René to serve the three-year- term of supervised release in Florida, knowing such decision will put his life at stake?

Once again, the clamor of the solidarity voices represents the one resource to mobilize the international community with the purpose of demanding from president Obama the return of René to Cuba and his family once he is out of prison.

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