Let's start at the beginning. You know Cuba is an island off the coast of Florida. The people there made a revolution in 1959 and the U.S. government broke diplomatic relations. Not much has changed, the conflict continues.
Anyway, over the years, some Cubans who didn't like the way things were going moved to Miami and started organizing terrorist attacks against their own country. Many people were killed. More than 3,000...
The U.S. government didn’t do a thing to stop these attacks. Terrorism organized in U.S. territory. They even supported some of these groups. Cuba had to defend itself.
In 1992, a few men were sent to Florida to gather information about these groups, keep tabs on them, try and stop the attacks. To save lives in Cuba and in the United States.
OK, on September 12, 1998, the FBI arrested the Five and accused them of espionage. Espionage? Remember, the Five were only interested in these terrorists. But they were arrested and kept in the “hole”, isolated for 17 months. Their lawyers weren't allowed to see whatever evidence supposedly existed against them, to get ready for the trial.
So, where was the trial? In the same city, right there in Miami, where the terrorists were planning their attacks on Cuba. No two ways about it. The five were denied their right to a fair trial. The environment was in no way impartial. Miami was hysterical about the case. No surprise that the jury felt the pressure and found The Five guilty.
They were given incredibly long sentences. One got two life sentences, plus 15 years.
OK. Since then, appeals have been filed, but no luck. Interesting, in 2005, a three judge panel in Atlanta overturned the Miami trial, said it was totally biased, unfair. But the prosecution appealed and the full Atlanta court of 11 judges overruled their own colleagues and restored the original verdict. grrr
Over the years, people all around the world have demanded that the Five be released. Nobel prize winners, artists, organizations of all kinds have spoken up for them.
So, what's happened? Today, in 2014, two of the Five are free. They completed their sentences in full and returned to Cuba. The other three are still in prison. The Cuban people and government continue to demand their freedom. They are innocent, but they're still in prison. For saving human lives. 16 years is too long.