FEBRUARY 13, 2006
A federal appellate court relied heavily on a study conducted by an admirer of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to overturn the 2001 convictions of five Cuban spies and on Tuesday the controversial study will again be presented as key evidence in a hearing before the same court.
The Atlanta-based Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals repeatedly referred to the pro-Castro study, conducted by a Florida college professor who sympathizes with the dictator, in its original 93-page opinion overturning the convictions in August. The report basically concluded that Miami was so saturated with hate for Castro that the five defendants could not have received a fair trial, though none of the jury members was of Cuban descent.
A few months later, however, the court changed its opinion and reinstated the convictions which included conspiracy to commit murder because of the defendants’ role in the 1996 shoot down of the humanitarian group Brothers to the Resuce planes.
Leftwing groups worldwide have supported the spies with San Francisco-based National Committee to Free the Cuban Five leading the way. Among other things, it claims that the U.S. Government has for decades funded and trained anti-Cuba terrorist groups in Miami. The group will hold a forum at Spelman College in Atlanta Tuesday night after the court hearing.
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