Sidley’s Pro Bono Team Helps Secure the Release of Human Rights Activist Oscar Elias Biscet from Cuban Prison

WASHINGTON--()--Sidley Austin LLP is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of its efforts to free human rights activist Oscar Elias Biscet from a Cuban prison, where he was serving a 25-year sentence.

Dr. Biscet, who recently was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in absentia in 2007 from George W. Bush, was released on Friday. Sidley, led by D.C.-based partner Andrew J. Strenio, Jr. and associate Lauren Randall Buckley, has worked for six years on behalf of Dr. Biscet, assisting an international effort aimed at his release.

“Sidley is deeply honored to have been a part of this inspiring struggle to free Dr. Biscet, and we are grateful that our efforts on his behalf have succeeded,” said Carter Phillips, the managing partner of Sidley’s Washington, D.C. office. “Dr. Biscet’s release represents a victory for the rule of law and demonstrates the important role that pro bono lawyers can play even on matters beyond our nation’s borders.”

Dr. Biscet has long served as a leader of the pro-democracy movement in Cuba, a powerful voice for individual freedom and an advocate of non-violent political protest. He was sentenced to a 25-year prison term in Cuba in 2003 for “acts against the sovereignty and independence of the national territory.” Cuba has recently released numerous political prisoners, but most of them have been sent to foreign countries, such as Spain. Dr. Biscet’s release was complicated by the fact that he successfully sought to remain in Cuba and intends to continue his human rights efforts.

Sidley, along with several non-profit organizations working to free non-violent prisoners of conscience, aggressively advocated for his release, generating support from the United Nations, the Vatican, the U.S. Congress and many foreign governments. The effort was part of Sidley’s expanding pro bono efforts in the area of international law.

Sidley Austin LLP is one of the world’s premier full-service law firms, with more than 1600 lawyers practicing in 17 U.S. and international cities, including Beijing, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Sidley is recognized for service and responsiveness. Sidley received the most first-tier national rankings of any U.S. law firm in the inaugural U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings for 2010. BTI, a Boston-based research and consulting firm, has named Sidley as one of only three firms to have been in the top ten of the BTI Client Service rankings every year since the inception of those rankings in 2001, and as number one in three of those years.

For purposes of the New York State Bar rules, this press release may be considered Attorney Advertising and the headquarters of the firm are Sidley Austin LLP 787 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019, 212.839.5300 and Sidley Austin LLP One South Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60603, 312.853.7000. Prior results described herein do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Contacts

Sidley Austin LLP
Janet Zagorin, 212-839-8797
Director of Practice Development
jzagorin@sidley.com
or
Rubenstein Associates
Peter Pochna, 212-843-8007
ppochna@rubenstein.com

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Contacts

Sidley Austin LLP
Janet Zagorin, 212-839-8797
Director of Practice Development
jzagorin@sidley.com
or
Rubenstein Associates
Peter Pochna, 212-843-8007
ppochna@rubenstein.com