EMINENT Argentine attorney Eugenio Raúl Zaffaroni, University of Buenos Aires Professor Emeritus, has sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama demanding justice for the five Cuban anti-terrorists political prisoners held in that country.
The Ph.D. in Judicial and Social Sciences, Doctor Honoris Causa at several Latin American universities, asked Obama to commute the sentences using his constitutional authority, in order to put an end to an exasperating, prolonged situation.
Zaffaroni is addressing the incarceration since 1998 of Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero, René González and Gerardo Hernández, sentenced in 2001 to prison terms ranging from 15 years to two life terms plus 15 years, for monitoring anti-Cuban terrorist groups located in South Florida.
In the message, Zaffaroni asserts that, beyond any evaluation of the legal proceedings or the sentences, it is clear that the process and the measures are, at the very least, questionable and lacking in transparency.
The jurist, head of Argentina's Supreme Court, reiterated that Ramón, Fernando, Antonio, René and Gerardo did not kill anyone or endanger the lives of anyone. Nevertheless, the sentences they were given exceed, for the most part, their useful lifetimes.
In the letter, he indicates that a presidential commutation of these sentences would contribute to an improvement of relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States.
Zaffaroni warns the U.S. President that "persisting in this long-standing antagonism undermines the seriousness and realism which a policy should project to avoid its disapproval by those who must succeed us."
He continues, "I presume to trouble you in order to request that, given your sound judgment, you consider the possibility of commuting the sentences, using your constitutional authority, in order to put an end to a dubious situation which, at this point, cannot be resolved through impartial judicial procedures."
"I believe that in cases such as the one which concerns us, the United States Constitution provides for and entrusts the President with the authority to pardon and commute sentences."