By most definitions, Cuban exiles Ihosvani Suris de la Torre, Santiago Padron Quintero and Maximo Pradera Valdes, who were caught by border guards trying to sneak into Cuba in April 2001, might be considered "terrorists," and not worthy of the label "political prisoners."
Whether someone is deserving of that distinction, however, should not be determined solely by the nature of their actions that preceded their imprisonment, but how their jailers treat them subsequently.
If their jailers make exceptions in how they are treated — for instance, holding them for several years without never formally filing charges — then we should make exceptions in how we view them. We do not have to condone their "crimes," but we must condemn those who might use and abuse them for their own political advantage.
Events since their capture, including the length of time between their capture and their "trials" last week, and the timing of those proceedings — just after the United States reiterated that Cuba is state sponsor of terrorism — demonstrate that the three are deserving of attention as political prisoners.
For more about their case, read the Associated Press story.