WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawyers for 15 jailed Puerto Rican nationalists
say President Bill Clinton's clemency offer is unfair because it would impose
too many restrictions on the FALN members once they are freed from
"It's conditioned upon them complying with terms that would limit their
to integrate themselves into the political process to shape the future of their
country, because it restricts their travel and association," one of the
attorneys, Jan Susler, told The Associated Press Television News (APTN).
Susler and lawyer Michael Deutsch said the FALN members all have
renounced violence -- a condition of the clemency offer -- but had problems
with other parts of the deal.
Deutsch said Friday that if FALN members accepted the offer they would
be barred from participating in political movements advocating independence
for Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States. Their travel also
would be severely restricted, he said.
The Chicago-based lawyers said the prisoners also were worried about the
law enforcement officials who would supervise their parole.
"We have the conditions being monitored by the Justice Department, the
parole commission and the FBI, who have come out and said we don't want
them on the street," Susler said.
Clinton has drawn a firestorm of criticism for announcing last month that
would grant clemency to 16 members of the FALN -- the Spanish initials for
Armed Forces of National Liberation -- if they disavowed violence.
Bombings and other attacks carried out by the FALN in the late 1970s and
early 1980s killed six and wounded dozens more. Those offered clemency
were not responsible for deaths, officials said.
Republicans and some law enforcement officials have accused Clinton of
making the offer to endear his wife to New York's 1.3 million Puerto Ricans.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is exploring a run for the Senate seat being vacated
by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, one of several Democrats
to oppose clemency.
Susler dismissed any link to the Senate race.
"This has been in the works since 1993. I'm sure Mrs. Clinton had no idea
about becoming senator back then," she told APTN.
Earlier this week, the House Government Reform Committee subpoenaed all
records on the FALN members from the White House and Justice
Department. Congressional hearings are planned for later this month.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.