Tags: Cubans | Espionage

US Objects to Spy's Request to Return to Cuba When Released From Prison

Monday, 12 Sep 2011 02:08 PM


  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

MIAMI — A former Cuban intelligence officer convicted of spying in the U.S. wants to return immediately to Cuba upon his release from prison next month, but federal prosecutors insist he must serve an additional three years of probation in this country.

Phil Horowitz, attorney for 55-year-old Rene Gonzalez, said Monday he has asked U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard on humanitarian grounds to permit the probation to be served in Cuba. Horowitz noted that Gonzalez's wife cannot get a visa to visit him in the U.S. — she was also implicated in the spy ring — and that his two children and parents also live in Cuba.

"It's our view that's an additional three years of punishment," Horowitz said. "He has no relatives, no close family in the United States."

Gonzalez, who holds dual U.S.-Cuban citizenship, is set for release Oct. 7 from a federal prison in Marianna, Fla. He has been in custody since the men were arrested 13 years ago Monday.

Prosecutors say there is no legal justification for Gonzalez to return before the three years' probation is completed. In court papers, they contend that Gonzalez was unrepentant regarding the actions that landed him in prison and a return to Cuba would put him beyond any U.S. supervision.

"The modification he seeks is essentially to terminate and eliminate supervised release before it has begun," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Heck Miller in court documents. She added that Gonzalez could later request permission to visit Cuba.

There is no timetable for Lenard to make a decision.

Horowitz said Gonzalez's mother in Cuba has expressed concern that he might be in danger if forced to serve out probation in the Miami area, home to thousands of Cuban exiles who are virulently opposed to the communist government of Raul and Fidel Castro.

"I would hope that society is more mature than that," Horowitz said.

Gonzalez and the other four men known as the "Cuban Five" were convicted in 2001 of attempting to infiltrate U.S. military installations in South Florida, such as the Miami-based Southern Command headquarters. They also monitored the Miami exiles and tried to place operatives inside the campaigns of anti-Castro politicians.

One of the five was also convicted of murder conspiracy in the 1996 shootdown by Cuban fighter jets of planes flown by the "Brothers to the Rescue" organization, which dropped pro-democracy leaflets in Cuba and helped Cuban migrants seeking to reach U.S. shores.

All five are hailed as heroes in Cuba.

The other four are still appealing their convictions, most recently on grounds that the U.S. paid thousands of dollars to key journalists while the high-profile trial was ongoing. The journalists were paid for appearances on U.S. radio and TV broadcasts to Cuba, even as they continued to do stories for independent media outlets.

"It's an idea that really seems to be the antithesis to the concept of a fair trial," said William Norris, who represents Ramon Labanino. "To pour gasoline on the fire with a propaganda campaign exceeds the concept of due process."

The attorneys have asked Lenard to set a hearing on whether the journalist payments and other evidence warrant a new trial. The judge has not indicated when she might rule.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Sony's Lawyer: 'The Interview Will Be Distributed'

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 09:06 AM

Sony Pictures is planning to release the controversial movie "The Interview" at some stage, the company‚Äôs lawyer says. . . .

Medicare Extends Priority Appeals Process for Seniors

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 07:41 AM

The federal office responsible for appeals for Medicare coverage says that it will extend the policy that gives priority . . .

Another Hacker Group Warns Sony: Release 'Interview' or Else

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 07:24 AM

Competing pressures from different groups of hackers are being brought to bear on Sony Pictures over the decision not to . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved