Cuban exiles said Monday they were relieved the Supreme Court refused to review the convictions of five intelligence agents for the communist country, despite calls from Nobel Prize winners and international legal groups to consider the case.
The convictions stand against the so-called "Cuban Five," who maintain they did not receive a fair trial because of strong anti-Castro sentiment in Miami. The men have been lionized as heroes in Cuba. Exile groups say they were justly punished.
The five — Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino (aka Luis Medina), Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez (aka Ruben Campa) — were convicted in 2001 of being unregistered foreign agents. Three also were found guilty of conspiracy to obtain military secrets from the U.S. Southern Command headquarters.
Hernandez was convicted of murder conspiracy in the deaths of four pilots, members of the Miami-based Brothers to the Rescue organization, who were shot down by Cuban fighter jets in 1996 off the island's coast. The group sought to identify and help migrants leaving Cuba by sea. The Cuban government maintains the planes violated its airspace to scatter political pamphlets over the island.