Marianna, FL- The "Cuban Five," known as the "Cinco Heroes" in Cuba, were arrested in Miami in 1998 charged with spying on the U.S. They were convicted in 2001.
Rene Gonzalez, one of the group members, was sentenced to 15 years behind bars, but walked free around 4:00 a.m. Friday from the Federal Correctional Institution in Marianna, about two years early.
This case has sparked outrage in both Cuba and the U.S. with supporters calling it unjust and an act of intimidation.
"It has a lot to do with that because the five revealed the fact that the U.S. through Miami has been intimidating and terrorizing the people of Cuba," said Kathy Hughart, a member of the group "San Diego Friends of Cuba.
Hughart defended the five. She said in recent years she had spoken to Gonzalez and had even exchanged letters with Gonzalez himself.
"The reaction of Rene is the same as the reaction of all five, which is they know they did no wrong. There's a great dignity in these five people and Rene should be able to go home today," said Hughart.
The whereabaouts of Gonzalez Friday were unknown. His lawyer said he will appeal the conditions of Gonzalez' probation, which requires him to serve the full three years in the United States. Meanwhile, the other four of the "Cuban Five" are still behind bars.