12 December 2006


A Basque solidarity rally was hold in Dublin last Sunday.It lasted about 1.5 hours, near Stephen's Green end of Grafton St, Sunday 10th. It started with Txalaparta performance, followed by Zanpantzar performance, 10 men in traditional costume, with another as the bear, led by a woman carrying the Basque flag. Supporters gathered around (40-50 people) and cheered them on. Supporters displayed a banner with the slogan "SELF-DETERMINATION FOR THE BASQUE COUNTRY". As well as Basque and Irish supporters, there were also Catalans in attendance, who displayed their own banner: "CATALONIA IS NOT SPAIN"Many passers-by, both Irish and non-Irish (tourists and foreign workers), stopped to listen and watch, or to ask questions of supporters.

Over 800 leaflets were given out explaining the cultural background to the performances and the historical and political background to the Basque struggle for self-determination.

Many signatures were collected on petitions in favour of the involvement of Spanish and French States in a process of talks and negotiations accepting the rights of all the Basques to decide their own future as the key to the resolution of the conflict.During the afternoon, some songs were sung and slogans shouted, in between performances of Zanpantzar and Txalaparta.

At the end of the afternoon, Germà Martin, speaking in Basque and in Catalan, thanked the performers and the supporters for their attendance, asked for continued support for the Dublin Basque Committee. He was followed by Diarmuid Breatnach, speaking in Irish and then in English, who said the same things and concluded with "Gora Euskadi" and "Visca Catalunya". Some supporters and Txalaparta performers then went into the Temple Bar area and put on another performance there.

Many of the supporters and performers met later that evening in a bar and enjoyed an evening of music and comradeship. The Dublin Irish Basque Committee is in the process of reorganising itself and this performance was an important first step.


As we already mentioned in previous bulletins he attempt of starting a
peace process has surprisesely provoked a huge convulsion in Euskal
Herria. It could not be in another way, since there are very opposed
interests. The only objective of both the Spanish government and its
Basque very loyal allied, the right wing political party PNV, consists
in eradicating ETA. They have no intention of going to the roots of
the conflict in order to reach an everlasting solution. The Basque
left wing pro independence party on the other hand, does not accept
any false solutions to the conflict, since if the conflict is not
properly solved it will last for at least another forty years or even

The PSOE and PNV want to achieve their goal by coercing the Basque
left wing pro independence party in many different ways, but in the
end they try very hard to weaken it so that only their conditions are
accepted without any kind of political normalisation. They want just
to defeat the Basque left wing pro independence party by using police,
judicial, mass media and economic repression. Even if so, from the
Basque left wing the answer has been very different, it has mobilised
its supporters in a positive way and always having the future in mind.
The strategy has been to answer repression by increasing nation and
democracy consciousness, asking for self determination.

The grounds of this initiative

On September 16th an ample and qualified group of representatives of
the left wing pro independence party appeared to announce the
beginning of a campaign the aim of which is to gain the right of self
determination. An initiative to add forces which was held in many
places; the slogan of this campaign was: "We have to back a democratic
resolution of the conflict because we need self determination". This
vindication is to be made everywhere in Euskal Herria.

· Objectives: the campaign itself has two objectives: "To promote
strongly this historic opportunity in order to find a solution and to
face false expectatives."

· Punctual reasons to back the Peace Process: "The process is
undergoing very hard times, it nowadays suffer of a blockade. Despite
the fact that it should be the exercising of a democratic right, it is
nowadays just another sort of process the aim of which is to weaken
and condition the left wing pro independence party. The Basque right
wing party PNV is the accomplice of the Spanish PSOE in this task".

· Positive elements: "The already started democratic process has been
backed by most of the Basque population. The political debate
originated under these circumstances has reached every corner within
the Basque Country. Save for very rare exceptions, the different
political, social and unions' agents have let very clear the relevance
of political negotiation. The matters to be discussed, this is,
territoriality and self determination are very present in the debate.
Despite the blockade there is an almost universal will to continue

Development of the campaign for self determination.

· Backing of relevant characters: referential people in the struggle
of our nation in favour of freedom consider that the political
situation that we are undergoing is crucial and that the strategy by
the left wing pro independence party is the most adequate answer in
order to solve the situation in a positive way. There was a first
appearance on the 20th of September in Donosti, and another way on the
27th in Bilbo. In both cases the message is pretty much the same; the
characters that appeared made clear the importance of the campaign
showing their solidarity at the same time.

· People's backing of the process: on the 30th of September five
simultaneous demonstrations were held; they all had the same
vindication: "Euskal Herria, self determination": In Baiona hundreds
of demonstrators took the streets. In Iruñea 1.500 people took part in
the demonstration. It is worth mentioning the presence of ex prisoners
carrying a banner. In this demonstration as well as in the rest of
them there is the same message going on: "The right to decide is
essential. Where is freedom if it is not recognised? If the persons
have rights why not the nations?" The demonstration which happened in
Bilbo was the most populous one with almost 8.000 people. It has a
clear internationalist connotation. The slogans in favour of
independence and socialism get mixed with other mottoes in favour of
Lebanon and Palestine. Many participants wearing Palestine shawls ask
for the active boycott against sionism. In Donostia 3.000 people ask
for independence and democracy for Euskal Herria. In Gasteiz 1.500
participants march with the photographs of the Basque political
prisoners; they also carried banners in which appeared the different
nations fighting for their freedom and against imperialism.

· To fight fascism: self determination. On the 12th of September Spain
celebrated the day of the Spanish patriotism. This day, as it can be
easily understood is very critically seen from Euskal Herria. This
year Iruñea has had a special political relevance, since the Spanish
right wing has chosen this territory to transform it into its
stronghold and in this way reject every Basque nationalist
expectations. On the one hand, the Spanish military police: "guardia
civil" organised a parade in which military, political and religious
authorities (As the Pope in Rome made some weeks ago, the archbishop
of Navarre wore the Spanish military police cap during the
celebrations); on the other hand, the pro nazi Spanish movement
organised a street demonstration protected by the Spanish police. In
the evening almost 3.000 citizens from Navarra, facing all these
provocations, went to the street to ask for their right to decide.

The Big Walk. The social and political agenda for these months is full
of events to ask for our right to decide our own future. It would be a
hard task just to mention them all. The most notorious one took place
in Bilbo on the 11th of November. 26.000 people of all ages marched in
the streets with a banner with the slogan of the campaign. At the end
of the celebration Arnaldo Otegi, one of the usual representatives of
the left wing pro independence party: Batasuna, transmitted these very
same messages to all the expectant citizens: "Night is even darker
just before daylight; things go wrong but there is a chance somewhere
there? They should stop using ETA and street fighting as a mere
excuse; the responsibility to make the peace process advance is mostly
in the hands of the political parties of Euskal Herria and, it is also
in the hands of the Spanish government in order to stop all the
aggressions against the Basque left wing. It is a paradox that the
official pacifists are afraid of peace and political debate, and yet
we "the aggressive and violent ones" are the ones who are claiming for
it. They know that their political project is weak and we know that we
will achieve independence as long as we are let free to make our own
choice. Our aim has a huge dimension since we want to solve an armed
conflict that has been going on for centuries; this is why the Basque
left wing is taking the right decissions; but are we asking for the
same compromise to the rest of the agents; the left wing pro
independence party will never sign a document which has no guarantees
for a democratic context in this country and for the definitive
solution of the conflict"

Euskal Herria, 1st December 2006
info@askapena.org // www.askapena.org


>The Basque political prisoner Iñaki de Juana, after completely serving
>his sentence (almost 20 years imprisoned), should be out of jail from
>the year 2003. But in the Spanish State, the times of sentences are
>elastic and malleable. As the former Justice Secretary said on 2005,
>it was necessary to find any way for keeping Inaki in jail although he
>had already served his sentence. With this stupid pretension a 96
>years sentence was requested based on two opinion articles. The
>prisoner started a hunger strike that lasted 2 months. He was fed
>against his will under an order of the Spanish National Court.
>Inaki gave up his stance when he knew that the prosecutor reduced his
>petition from 96 years to 6. But this is not what happened. The court
>took place and the prosecutor asked for 13 years. One day before being
>the condemnatory judgment to 12 years and 6 months of jail for two
>opinion articles known (November the 7th), Inaki again declared
>himself in hunger strike reiterating his decision for driving his
>protest to the extreme. He requested to the Prison Governor to remain
>in total isolation, renouncing to any contact with his family. Prison
>Institutions, trying to harden the situation, have requested
>permission to the Spanish National Court to place Inaki in a sharing
>cell with other prisoner.
>In this bulletin we want to reproduce pieces of an interesting opinion
>article published in Gara newspaper on 30 October by Manuel F. Trillo,
>Law Professor.
>Freedom of speech, amputated freedom
>I have listened the statement of an accused, judged because of writing
>two articles. In them he mentions some people who are prison officers.
>The prisoner complains about the treatment received from them?
>Is not understandable that a prisoner complains about the prison and
>the jailers? Does not the slave complain about how cruel is his
>master? And the master because he has to treat with a slave? All of us
>complain; some ones can to say it in low voice but other ones can
>shout it. Do not the prison officers complain about how hard is their
>job? But, the person who writes two articles naming his jailers is
>being judged just because of mentioning them. If I had the idea to
>publish that my boss, my bigwig is a rotten, would be myself object of
>criminal proceedings? I have listened very quietly Inaki's statement
>during the hearing. The tone was somebody's who is tired of so much
>grudge, who knows himself symbol of a personal and collective combat
>which took him to prison 20 years ago. The arguments were so
>convincing that they were un-attackable.
>It is really difficult to me to accept the double measuring stick: On
>October 27th, during the oral hearing, the extreme right wing
>demonstrated in front of the Spanish National Court cutting the
>traffic during more than an hour and they were not suppressed. Would
>have the police had the same consideration if Batasuna´s supporters
>were the people cutting Genova Street? From here I ask to the
>Government Vice President: Why you allowed the extreme right to cut my
>right to the free circulation? I only have sympathy for the Law.
>Because of that I understand that anyone who makes an offence pays
>with jail the crime. But I can not support that they make fun of us
>using and abusing the Law depending of the ideological colour of the
>people who violated it.
>There is something that has taken my attention completely because it
>has nothing to do with what was being judging and it is that the
>prosecutor, on certain moment, asks to the defendant: If you leave the
>prison, what would you do? But, prosecutor, how low can you get? You
>know that this is not the cause of the trial because here it is
>another question in the air: the publication of two articles. And you
>ask to the accused about something relating his future. Burgos
>prosecutor, tell me one thing: Do you know what will happen to you in
>three days time? Prosecutor, I am going a bit farther, do you usually
>ask the same question to the rapists, women batterers, corrupts, drug
>traffickers, ??
>I have also seen that they have allowed get inside the hearing room
>two individuals who uttered threats. The fact that these characters
>get access as a public but friends of the defendant were not allow to
>get in seems a nonsense to me. I am absolutely perplexed when I listen
>to the magistrate saying to take their identities and that they will
>be accused of disorders; come on please, both of them have uttered
>death threats, "look at me because this is the last thing you are
>going to see in your life". The threat was said in a tribunal and it
>was not a private offence; it is evident that the Judge and the
>prosecutor should have acted in consequence. Make your job. If the
>accused had pronounced this phrase in his articles, which one would
>have been the magistrate's and prosecutor's deduction?
>In the Spanish National Court the Freedom of Speech has been judged.
>The judicial operators know it; those who try to confuse the
>population know it. The discussion in this trial is the freedom to say
>that somebody is a rogue. This is the reason way this trial is not
>trivial. Fundamental rights are at stake. I can not imagine another
>sentence but absolution because two articles are not guns and words
>are not bullets. I hope the judge knows to ensure that the law is
>upheld. Otherwise, it would be a huge indignity.
>By way of conclusion
>While we are writing this bulletin, Iñaki has already lost six
>kilograms and is health, already deteriorate because of the previous
>two months lasting hunger strike, is getting worst by moments. His
>fellows in Aranjuez Prison are doing a rotary fasting in solidarity
>with the prisoner. The anti-repressive organism Askatasuna (freedom),
>has talked to the Government of Spain. Reminds it that "it is
>maintaining the policy to kill the prisoners and destroy the
>collective of Basque Political Prisoners following the guidelines of
>the anti-terrorist pact signed with the Popular Party? These are the
>principal obstacles to reach a definitive solution". And, referring to
>the Basque society: "It is the time to bring together strengths
>against every aggression and interferences".
>Basque Country, November 22th, 2006
>info@askapena.org // www.askapena.org

2 November 2006


The analyses of some other processes on their way to be resolved have something in common and this is the need of international support so the process can go on. Euskal Herria obviously is not an exception. For so many years, may be for too long, there has been not even a remote possibility for a negotiated resolution of the conflict. At an international level only the cruelty of the conflict was exposed. The Basque pro independence left-wing has non stop trying to make known that it has always been a political conflict, and as such, that it needed a political solution.

But this political sector had very restrained means to socialise this message between the people. Both states immersed in the conflict, this is, France and very specially Spain, have made use of all the resources they had to distort the message of the pro-independence left-wing, making the people believe that they were dealing just with terrorists who were endangering democracy. The lack of international implication in the former process at the end of 1990 was the key for the total failure of it.

This time though, things are changing. In Euskal Herria there is some sort of strategy going on, which is over the political parties, it does even exceed them. There are some national organizations being created: National Forum for Debate, Democratic Base Agreement, Udalbiltza (this is a net of Basque majors and councillors), Ahotsak (a women organization in which the political party they belong to is not taken into consideration and their aim is to mix different sensibilities) and some others.

These organizations are making a very interesting work at an international level, sincethanks to them, the peace process is being made known at an international level. There are already some positive results. From another point of view, even the Spanish government is trying to get international backing in order to make its position stronger.

We are offering in this report a general view of all the movements that are taking place at this very moment.

International agenda ·

At the end of July, Ahotsak was invited by Les Verts to the meeting they do organise at Cautances in Normandy. One of the representatives from Palestine committed herself to make Ahotsa's initiative known in Palestine and Israel.

· On the 30th of August Friendship (Association constituted by groups within the European Parliament) hold a meeting in Brussels in order to start the new political year. This Association announced that the European Parliament is to vote a resolution in order to back the beginning of the resolution process in Euskal Herria. According to them: "This resolution has to recognise individual and collective rights of every Basque citizen,whether they live under Spanish or French administration, in order to defend the negotiation. The European parliament should support the Agreement and back the inclusion of all the political trends". Friendship is not happy about the delay in the constitution of the political parties' table in Euskal Herria. They asked the European PP (European conservative party) to support the resolution that is to be voted. ·

On the 2nd of September, Regions et Peuoples Solidaries (Federation which has between its members French political movements including EA and PNV) passed a resolution asking the French government to "contribute with the political normalization of Euskal Herria". ·

On the 11th of September Alex Maskey, member of Sinn Fein, hold a meeting in Madrid along with another member from Batasuna and asked the Spanish government to support a process for the resolution of the conflict. ·

24th of September at the Zinemaldia, the international cinema festival held in Donostia, many actresses from different countries of the world backed the initiative Ahotsak. According to them "peace is much more than the lack of war and violence and in the same way when women are listened to, some aspects that in another way should be ignored, are definitely included in the peace processes".

· 26th September. A group of members of the European Parliament from different political sensibilities presented a text agreed by them all asking the European Parliament to get involved in a peace process that should happen in Euskal Herria. There are though two fascist groups supported by the Spanish PP opposing themselves to any debate about the subject by the European Parliament. With the finality of having influence on the members of the European Parliament there is a pictures exhibition in Brussels, the subject of which is Victims of Terrorism (but only the victims provoked by ETA have place in the exhibition; the victims by the Spanish state have no room in the exhibition). ·

28th September. The European Parliament analysed the proposal and it agreed to debate on the 25th of October its participation in the conflict between Euskal Herria and Spain. That proposal was finally approved on the President's Conference. The proposal was made by the Socialist Party. As for the Popular Party it did the support the proposal, even if their party mates in Spain did not do so. In their words "the initiative is a disparate and a historic mistake the aim of which is to make ETA happy, since ETA's aim consists in making the conflict international. The wider and more relevant the debate is the happier that ETA will feel" (Spanish spokesman of the PP in Europe). "There is nothing for debate but for condemnation" (the president of the Spanish PP party).·

Batasuna was happy with the decision by the European Parliament "A decision of great importance since it is the first time that happens in this kind of context. We are within a process that is happening in the European context; we do consider foreign presence something really important." According to Basque president Ibarretxe: "The decision of the debate places the process in the world agenda". The Base Democratic Agreement group, a plural Basque collective working for the internationalization of the process, does consider the agreement a historical opportunity. ·

On 3rd of October Tony Blair made a short visit to Madrid, something that was understood as his personal support of the negotiation process. He mentioned that "It is always worthy to try". He announced his will to back the process he even gave a piece of advice to the Spanish president, Zapatero: "In order to face these sort of processes a patient determination is essential; if someone believes on what he is doing, he keeps on". At the same time he was very critic with the Spanish PP's obstructionist policy. ·

On 9th October. Six world wide known men did openly support any democratic resolution of the conflict. The former presidents of Italy and Portugal Francesco Consiga and Mario Soares respectively; the ex-candidate for the presidency in Mexico Cuahtemoc Cardenas, the peace prize winner Adolfo Esquivel; the leader of Sinn Feinn, Gery Adams and the one of the African National Congress, Kgalema Mothlanthe.

Finally on the 25th of October a debate took place in the European Parliament with hundreds of Basque pro-independence supporters rallying outside. A motion in favour of a democratic process in the Basque Country was passed with 321 votes in favour and 311 against.

23 October 2006

Police enter in dozens of basque pro independence peoples clubs

Court 61 of the Spanish High Court has ordered on Monday that court committees will enter all "herriko tabernas" (Basque pro independence clubs or bars, called "peoples bars") in order to draw up inventories of the goods of the leftist party. The action is part of the process to account the assests that began in March 2003 when Batasuna was banned.
Precisely, security forces got into several premises by midday: the "herriko" (peoples club) of Gasteiz, the one in Salvatierra and two other in Iruña (in La Rochapea and La Txantrea neighbourhoods), according to EiTB. A bar in Berriozar (Navarre) has also been registered.

Short later, the Civil Guard have sealed the peoples clubs in Donostia-San Sebastian, as well as in Portugalete and Bilbao's Santutxu neighbourhood (Bizkaia), where some incidents have taken place.

The order establishes one-month period for Batasuna to allege. It also requests from judge Baltasar Garzon all the documents that investigate the financing of ETA through pub-like herriko taberna.


Debate on Basque process at the centre of EU parliament's agenda

A priori, the motion that boosts a dialogued channel has the support of most of the parliament groups. The presence of Basque delegations would be wide since all Basque groups consider the event very significant.

The Basque conflict is at the centre of the European agenda. There's barely two days to go and groups in the European parliament as well as Basque parties take stands. If predictions come true, the motion in favour of a dialogued channel has guaranteed the support of most of the parliament groups. Meanwhile, Spain's Conservative PP and its allies try to exert pressure by making critical statements and organising demonstrations. España y Libertad (an organisation in favour of the unity of Spain) for instance, has summoned a gathering on Monday in front of the European parliament at 06:30 pm.

A wide representation of the Basque political spectrum is expected, such as a delegation of the Basque government led by spokeswoman Miren Azkarate and councillors Esther Larrañaga and Javier Madrazo. Representatives of Basque Nationalist EA, BATASUNA, of trade union LAB, and of Aquitaine will attended the meeting, as well as Irish mediator Father Alec Reid.

Spain's High Court judge Santiago Pedraz has allowed LAB secretary general Rafa Díez Usabiaga to fly to Strasbourg to attend the debate. Díaz Usabiaga is accused in the proceedings that investigate the financing of ETA through the "herriko tabernas" network (pub-like offices).

Day's plan

The debate will open on Wednesday 25th at 09:00 am. The European Commission, the EU Council and representatives of each political group will take part at the event.

Subsequently, members of parliament will vote the resolutions of the different groups around 12:30 pm.

Stands of Basque parties

President of PNV party Josu Jon Imaz has stated that his party, which "has always believed in Europe" and "has always bet on its political significance", will be on Wednesdays in Strasbourg. He has considered "very important and decisive" the support of the EU to the peace process in the Basque Country.

BATASUNA considers that this mean that the basque conflict is right now in the euroean agenda and it is recognized as an european issue.

18 October 2006


Towards Independence and Socialism.


The ways of production that have been imposed nowadays in Euskal Herria (the Basque Country) are ferociously capitalist. In the same way, the kind of society which is being favoured - a society with a high level of consumerism - coincides with that way of production. The bourgeoisie controlling local governments are the ones administering the resources of the country according to their own class interests. Energy production, the waste management, transport infrastructures? follow this capitalist model. As a result, natural resources are sacrificed and both, natural resources and environment become second class elements. Mega projects are mobilising huge amounts of capital, some money managed by firms which are close to political power. This is another way of speculation by which they increase their huge benefits. But the imposition of this model is proving to be not that easy.

Big social sectors of the population are organised to confront this model and its projects which are so environmentally expensive. These sectors of the population have assumed themselves the defence of the environment and nowadays they are trying to stop those aggressions to the environment, some of which are irreversible.

The bourgeoisie are of course trying to neutralise this popular movement by using all the strategies they can in order to make it illegitimate; according to their words, all that people working for the environment are "terrorist groups (it could not be other way) manipulated by ETA, they do oppose to progress and development, they are nostalgic people that cling to a patriarchal society" and when rhetoric attacks are not enough they make use of police repression as another way to dissuade. Despite these strategies, civic organizations are still alive defending beyond all the difficulties another less aggressive social and productive model.

Euskal Herria has a long history in its defence of the environment. It was able to stop the construction of Lemoiz, a nuclear power station, the construction of which was very advanced. In the same way Basque institutions were forced to change the initial route of the motorway of Leitzaran in Navarre, since the original route was highly aggressive for the valley with the same name; and finally, these social organizations openly oppose themselves to the reservoir called Itoiz; in this case, works have finished but the filling up of this reservoir has not concluded yet because of the risks denounced by the coordinating committee against this artificial lake.

In this report we do include some official projects which are being bravely opposed by the people: Open fronts and popular initiatives:

-Garoña is an old nuclear power station which is still working at a distance of 30 km from Gasteiz, a city of 200.000 inhabitants. It was initially designed to be working for 25 years and yet this year is the 35th at work. In a very short period of time it has been known that there have been three unexpected stops. There are many voices asking to dismantle this power station. There was even a march up to the doors of Garoña. There is also a demonstration called on the 21st October which will happen in Gasteiz.·

-In the south of Navarre the organization called "No+Power stations" is denouncing that the Thermal power station of Castejon is having a negative influence on the level of ozone in this area of Euskal Herria.· The Thermal power station of Boroa, in the very heart of Bizkaia, is nowadays working, but even if so, it has a huge popular opposition: fourteen numerous demonstrations, a hunger strike, many mobilizations, 1.000 legal appeals, protests in Europe, 15.000 signatures against this project, a referendum in which 98% of the population expressed its open opposition to the power station? Despite this all, once again, the authorities have taken no measures.·

-The Town hall of Donosti in Gipuzkoa is planning to install a rubbish incinerator. The 22nd of June a numerous representation of the citizens tried to take part in the municipal meeting in which had to be decided the approval of the project. These citizens were denied to take part in the meeting, but some of them were able to get themselves into the meeting by overcoming police vigilance, and so they had the chance to oppose themselves to this meeting by screaming their opinion. The meeting was moved to another hall and so the placement of the problematic power station was finally approved. From that day onwards there have been several citizens' mobilizations against this all. The more concerned social sectors have very clear that the debate has not to be focused only on the location of the power station, but especially on the way to process rubbish. They firmly believe that burning the rubbish is not the best way and they propose different alternatives like composting, recycling, biomethaning, reducing the waste from origin? Incineration increases breathing, mental and digestive illnesses, it makes cancer presence higher and it does also increase birth giving problems. Batasuna, the political party has denounced that behind the incinerator there are important political interests related to the political parties backing the project.·

-The Basque Government is materialising the project of a motorway between Eibar and Gasteiz; a project which is very advanced. On the 24th of June some green groups made a demonstration asking for the end of a development policy based on concrete.
-The Town hall of Gasteiz decided, against the will of most of the citizens affected by the project, to install mechanic stairs in the historic centre of the city in order to favour tourism. Residents believe that this work is an aggression to its environment and damage for them. The neighbours organised different events to oppose themselves to this decision, but on the 22nd of June the local and Basque police attack the people present in one of the demonstrations. On the 23rd of June 200 neighbours tried another way of boycott by presenting that many formal complaints for irregularities in the development of the works. On the 29th of June there was another populous demonstration to denounce the works themselves, and the aggressive actuation of the police. On the 27th of June some neighbours got themselves into one of the Town hall meetings with the intention of protesting for this all.·

-At this very moment there is an institutional mega project which is close to being materialised; this is the route for the High Speed Train (HST)which would cross Euskal Herria. The impact of this project on the environment would be very serious, in the same way, the resources needed are scandalous. Important popular sectors are taking part in the debate contributing with alternatives for such a pharaonh's project. We will give further information about this all in another report. At the picture you can see a demonstration held last weekend in Durango against the HST.

Euskal Herria, 15th of October 2006

info@askapena.org // www.askapena.org

12 October 2006

Important international figures support Basque peace process

Six important figures of the international political life presented a manifesto to boost the peace process in which they engaged to back it. Two Nobel Peace Prize winners are among the signatories.

The former Italian president Francesco Cossiga, the former Portuguese president Mario Soares, the Irish nationalist leader Gerry Adams, the secretary general of the South-African governmental party African National Congress Kgalema Motlante, the Mexican politician and founder of the Democratic Revolution Party PRD Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, and the Argentinean Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel unveiled a manifesto to boost the peace process in the Basque Country on Monday, October 9.

The signatories of the document think the steps "to overcome confrontation politics and to open a way of recognition and civic compromise, result of the praiseworthy effort of democratic will of the two sides, the Basque and the Spanish, during the last few months" is very positive.

The signatories welcome the nascent stage, "in which the triumph of the culture of the word prevails over silence and unreasonableness' explosion." They think dialogue and negotiation are "the only tool able to solve political problems and settle the foundations to build a real Peace."

They encourage Basque and Spanish to follow the way started "until they eradicate its causes and effects once and for all within the framework of resolution and democratic normalisation."

The six important figures voiced their readiness to boost the process "from now on, undertaking to support all those initiatives aimed to protect and provide democratic solutions for its achievement."


Looking the new political situation created in Euskal Herria/Basque Country and taking in account mainly:

l the will to open an oficial contact line bettwen the basque organization ETA and the Spanish Government.

l The statement of Spanish President Mr. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero committing to respect any decision taken by the basque people exclusively through democratic ways and legal procedures.

l The intense activity promoted by the basque political forces, trade unions and social movements.

1.- We consider very positive the recent initiatives taken to overcome the ongoing political confrontation and the opening of a process of mutual recognition and civic compromise consequence of the hard work and democratic commitment expressed by both sides the basque and Spanish one.

2.- We welcome this new phase, in wich words are beginning to triumph over silence and the bedlam of injustice and thus facilitate dialogue and negotiation. This is the only way to resolve political problems and lay foundation for a true Peace, based both on mutual recognition and agreement between the parties and on the universal rights of democracy.

3.- We encourage and exhort all the parties concerned, in complete absence of violence form both sides, to join us in pursuing tirelessly the hard but rewarding journey to wich we have committed ourselves, soothing the ancient wounds of the long conflict with the balm of responsible politics and using our determination and the precepts of democracy to eradicate for ever the causes and effects of the conflict.

4.- Finally we declare our readiness to support, in every way that is humanly possible, any process that leads to the attainment of Peace and we commit ourselves, form this day on, to promote all initiatives whose objective is to achieve that result by democratic means.

Iñaki de Juana decided to give up his hunger strike after 63 days: the struggle continue

On October 7 a large demonstration marched through the streets of Donostia
to demand the rights of Basque political prisoners be upheld.

Specifically, the demonstration demanded:

· the right to be released for the approximately 160 prisoners who are
legally entitled to be released,
· the release of the 6 prisoners with serious incurable illnesses and
· the right of the prisoners to be repatriated to jails in the Basque Country

The demonstration, called by organisations from various sections of
society, which have come together under the name of the Ibaeta Forum and
represent the majority of the Basque organised civil society, was aimed at
supporting the prisoners' struggle for their rights, currently embodied in
Iñaki de Juana's long hunger strike.

After this large demonstration, de Juana decided to give up his hunger
strike after 63 days and thanked everybody who in the Basque Country and abroad supported him during these two months prisoners. During this time he was force fed three times, but now, although in a delicate condition, he is recovering at the 12 de
Octubre Hospital in Madrid.

However, on the 27th of this month, he will be tried for publishing two
opinion articles in the Basque daily Gara, for which the prosecution is
requesting 96 years in prison, alleging that through these articles he
committed crimes of "issuing terrorist threats" and "membership of an
armed group". Therefore, we believe it is important to continue to follow
Iñaki's situation and especially, to maintain the pressure in view of this
trial, which is illegitimate and violates his most basic rights and in
view of the possibility of Iñaki being convicted, which would clearly be

5 October 2006


In the last ten months, the situation of Basque political prisoners has only got worse:

• The policy of dispersal has increased; today there are political prisoners in jails where there had never been any.
• In addition to the age-old lack of healthcare, prisoners with serious diseases have not been released.
• 160 prisoners should have been released, according to the law, after having served two thirds, three quarters or their entire sentence. Using new instruments (the Parot Doctrine of the Spanish Supreme Court, creating new charges, new sentence lengths, new Courts and laws… in both the French and the Spanish state) they are implementing de facto life imprisonment.
• Death has come to the Prisoners' Collective, taking Igor Angulo and Roberto Saiz.
• Overall, the rights violations this Forum has denounced from the beginning continue; violation of the right to communicate, to study, to be a parent, to live and communicate in Basque, to an effective legal defence…

The alarm bells are ringing. They are ringing because of the objective situation of the Prisoners' Collective. And they are ringing because of what that situation means in humanitarian and political terms: hypocrisy and blackmail. Many political actors and institutions keep saying that peace has no political price, but at the same time they are insensitive to the humanitarian "toll" exacted inside the prisons every minute, which is exacted precisely as political blackmail. Is this not terrible hypocrisy? Is it not hypocrisy when those who rightly denounce the Guantánamo camp turn their heads from the 80 guantánamos in the south of Europe where Basque political prisoners are held?

This forum wishes to draw attention to the situation of prisoner Iñaki de Juana, on hunger strike since August 7. We believe that, through this person, the Spanish Government wants to send out two very clear messages to the Prisoners' Collective and to the whole of Basque Society:

1) that through the State Prosecution, it is possible to charge people just for being what they are and not for their deeds, because charges can be artificially created; and
2) that the prisoners, or many of them at any rate, must lose all hope of recovering their freedom.

We believe this situation must be understood as an alarm call to the conscience of society; it must spur us on to increase social mobilisation for prisoners' rights. The organisations in this Forum wish to restate their commitment to keep informing and to favour a dynamic of mobilisation until these inhumane policies are deactivated. It is also our responsibility to see that our society, in the future, will not be anesthetised, impassive in the face of the suffering of its fellow citizens.

Together with the part of civil society we represent, we believe that a commitment by the Basque administrations, institutions and political parties would be a great aid for these demands. The systematic violation of the most basic rights of 600 Basques should be on their political agenda, an agenda which should always include the defence of their own citizens among its priorities.

• For the release of seriously ill prisoners.
• For the release of those who have served their sentences.
• For repatriation, in full possession of their rights.

The Ibaeta Forum

Repatriate Basque prisoners, acknowledge their rights!

Bilbao, September 26, 2006

IBAETA FORUM's political parties, trade unions and social organizations: ELA, LAB, ESK, STEE-EILAS, Hiru, EHNE, ELB, AEK, Herria 2000 Eliza, Bai Euskal Herriari, Torre de Babel, Hegoaren Sarea, Segi, Duina, Etxerat, Askatasuna, Bilgune Feminista, EHGAM, Torturaren Aurkako Taldea, Eguzki, Gurasoak, Askapena, Behatokia, Ikasle Abertzaleak, ESAIT, Euskal Herrian Euskaraz, Iratzarri, Komite Internazionalistak, AC!, Elkartzen, EHBE, Hemen eta Munduan, IPES, Anai Artea, Lapurtarren Biltzarra, Demoak, Euskal Herria Zuzenean Jaialdia, Herriarekin Apaiz Taldea, Pilotarien Kolektiboa.

4 October 2006


14.000 people took the streets last Saturday in the main five cities of the Basque Country. This was a strong start for the Basque Left's campaign for self-determination right which will take place during the next couple of months through all Basque towns and cities.

Protesters highlighted that self-determination right is the key to sort the political conflict and denounced the current crisis created because of PSOE and PNV's selfish interests. They called for the setting up of a negotiations table without more delay.

The dramatic situation that Basque political prisoners suffer had a big protagonism in the marchs with special references to Inaki De Juana who is on his 59th day on hunger strike.

In Ireland 25 people gathered in Dublin and 10 in Letterkenny (Co. Donegal) to show solidarity with Inaki during the weekend.

27 September 2006


Gudari Eguna '06 (Soldier's Day). Every 27th of september since 1975 when volunteers Txiki and Otaegi where executed by Franco along with three spanish antifascists the Basque pro-independence movement remembers all the fighters who died in favour of Basque freedom. A national meeting took place in Aritxulegi forest, close to Donostia-San Sebastian last Saturday, where thousands of people gathered to remember and pay tribute to the 218 Basque volunteers who were killed in action during the past forty years. Three members of ETA spoke to the people from the stage and fired some bullets.

ETA´s spokesmen read the following statement:

"Euskadi Ta Askatasuna wants to greet all the activists attending this event. We do not think the Day of the Basque Soldier is a moment to look back. Far from it, taking as an example the dead fellow soldiers and learning from the covered path, this day has to do to consolidate today and tomorrow's fight and to strengthen the personal commitment to the freedom of the Basque Country. The fight is not a thing of the past. It is the present and the future.

Continuing the fight , without failing as the Basque soldiers did, will make of us a free nation. Fighting firmly the oppression of the Basque Country is an essential task to guarantee the survival of our nation.

No-one will give us anything for free, the chance of getting a Basque Country free is within our hearts and hands. We will build an independent Basque Country with our daily tasks. This is, exactly, the message ETA wants to put across today: We will keep fighting, with weapons in our hands, until we achieve independence and socialism in the Basque Country.

We have got our blood ready to give it for the Basque Country! We will succeed! Long live to the Basque soldiers! Long live to a free Basque Country! Long live to a socialist Basque Country! No surrender until we achieve independence and socialism!"

Demonstrations will take place all around the Basque Country today to pay tribute to the fallen volunteers and to call everybody to the daily struggle. This year's slogan is: "Izan zirelako izango gara" ("Because they were we will be" meaning that because of the dead generations struggle today's generation's struggle is still alive).

25 September 2006

INTERVIEW with Iñaki de Juana, Basque political prisoner, in Algeciras Hospital.

"Every measure they have taken is against my will"

- "The medical vice-director of the prison told me he would not allow me to be on hunger strike for more than 50 days"

Iñaki de Juana was admitted to Algeciras hospital on Tuesday and he is being intravenously force-fed since Wednesday. GARA is publishing an exclusive interview, dated September 14 in Algeciras jail, when the Donostia-born prisoner had spent 38 days with no food. In the interview, De Juana states that all the measures the medical teams have taken towards him "and the measures yet to come" are against his will.

"I don't think they will take much longer". This was what Iñaki de Juana said last week about the possibility of being force-fed "against my will and by force". In this interview, the prisoner goes over his situation and the situation of the Basque Political Prisoners' Collective, highlighting the idea that there is a Spanish State political strategy being this situation.

- On August 7 you began an indefinite hunger strike. Which were the main reasons that led you to this?

There are four reasons: I am convinced that the jurisprudence created in my case will affect all political prisoners and freedom of speech too, not just me; I am sure that I am not harming anyone and that any positive consequences will be for everyone and negative consequences will only affect me; the need to sat "enough is enough" in the face of so many attacks; and the need to demand my release after having finished serving my sentence two years ago.

- Instead of choosing another form of struggle, you chose the toughest form of protest…

The forms of struggle available to a prisoner are very limited: lock-ups, refusal to do certain things, hunger strikes and some other purely symbolic things. Unfortunately, and despite the fact this is also subject to many limits, the only thing that can be taken seriously as a protest and may serve as a form of pressure is to place your life in the hands of the Administration. And this is also the form of struggle best understood outside, precisely because of its toughness.

- You have had no food for over a month, how has this time passed?

Very quickly, because of the tremendous motivation I have. I feel very strong and positive. Physically, I feel the normal wear, but psychologically I am even more determined than when I made the decision.

- The Audiencia Nacional ordered you to be taken to a hospital for various tests and they also ordered you to be force fed, even against your will. What is your opinion on this?

To date, September 14, they took me out to hospital on the first two weeks, to carry out electrocardiograms and various tests; I refuse to do this voluntarily so as not to cooperate with a medical team made up of the very same people who are prepared to act against my will and using force. After those two weeks, they are carrying out the tests inside the prison, always under the coverage of the Audiencia Nacional decision.

The AN has issued two decisions up to now: one from the Central Penitentiary Court and another one from the First Section of the Penal Court. Both say I can be taken to hospital whenever they want and they can do all kinds of tests.

They have not issued the order to force-feed me yet, but they have said they will and I don't think they will take much longer, because even the medical vice-director of the prison told me he would not allow me to be on hunger strike for more than 50 days without them force-feeding me.

Both the measures they have taken up to now and the ones still to come are unjustly violating my will, regardless of how much constitutional backing they have. It is not only psychological torture, in that it violates my will, but also physical, violating my body, because they do it through physical force. In addition, these measures lengthen your suffering, but they do not guarantee you will live, nor do they guarantee you will have a healthy life in decent conditions.

- One of the court decisions used your medical precedent of "kidney failure" as justification…

In the early 90s, in Salto del Negro jail, there were a number of very tough struggles. During 1992, I took part in three long hunger strikes. Other comrades, Esteban, Tapia, Garratz… did more than I, before and after I was there.

During the third and last hunger strike I took part in, after forty-something days I had a bad case of kidney failure. They forcefully intubated me and urgently got me out of the prison. I must have been in bad condition because there was a doctor with me all the way on the ship and then in the ambulance, all the way to the Málaga Prison Infirmary, where they held me for a month and a half until I recovered.

As you know, when the kidneys stop, the damage is definitive, but mine did not get that bad. The damage was reversible and I recovered completely. Fourteen years later, the Penitentiary Administration has shaken the dust off this old situation and included it in the medical history it has sent to the Audiencia Nacional to justify these hurried measures. That is why the court decision makes that reference.

However, I want to make it clear that at the time of beginning the hunger strike my health was perfect, I had no illnesses whatsoever.

- You have expressed total determination to carry on with the hunger strike, what makes your decision be so firm?

It is the only weapon I have. I do not know what will happen in this situation. It will depend on several factors. But I am certain that the alternative is life imprisonment and dying of old age in prison. I choose to fight, and we will see what happens. In any case, fighting in itself is winning. But I do not want my decision to be seen as a desperate measure; that it is not. It is a struggle.

- Since you began your protest many protests have taken place in the street. What is the value of these gestures of solidarity? Do you feel the warmth from the street?

Yes, it gets in here and I can feel it. These actions are extremely important for my morale and for the possible, though difficult, resolution of this situation. I am immensely grateful. But I am also conscious that only a small part of this is because of me, and so it should be. Solidarity is for all the political prisoners and for all those who suffer reprisals because of their political ideas. Of course, mine is one of the most striking situations, although all of them are a scandal. And at this point in time it seems this has been cathartic in the midst of the sickness about the lack of movement and all the attacks.

- Attacks against the Basque Political prisoners' Collective and their living conditions have come in quick succession; what is your reading of the situation and what is your assessment of the Collective as a whole?

I am not the person to ask about the Collective as a whole. The only ones who can and must answer that are the comrades officially appointed representatives of all the Basque political prisoners. Plus, honestly, it would be unfair for me to answer this because, strange as it may seem, I do not know. I mean that after the policy of dispersal began, I have almost always been held in isolation wings, with very few comrades, so I only know what a few of us think.

Personally, I think that for years, especially the last three years, the State has been filling the bag with hostages; in order to let them go later on, if needs be, little by little. And to draw out any possible resolution process over the years, keeping up the blackmail. To sell the dismantling of the previously taken increases in repression as if this was a gesture of generosity and after a number of years, to arrive at the same situation we were in fifteen years ago.

However, and I am not talking in anyone's name, what I do know, as any observer should, is that the Collective has resisted every kind of attack for almost thirty years, and we will continue to resist.

- In your case, they have used two opinion articles in order to request a new sentence of 96 years in jail…

But the first argument they used not to release me was because they voided definitive judicial decisions about my remission due to studies. When they could no longer use this because it was even causing contradictions among the judges and they still had not come up with the "Parot Doctrine", they came up with the thing about the articles. Anything goes to keep the hostage bag full. Don't let anyone out; or, at least, don't let anyone they don't want out.

- Lately, Basque political and institutional leaders have made statements asking for the prisoners to be repatriated, or, at least, for them to be moved closer to their homes. What is your assessment of these statements?

They are a firework display. Pure hypocrisy. Because these are nothing but statements, the deeds do not match the words. They implement no measures to give credibility to their words. Plus, you must not forget that all those leaders are collaborators in dispersal, the suffering, the deaths, inside prison and also relatives and friends, the road accidents, the economic burden…

The only ones who have always been on the side of the prisoners are the Basque independence movement, and we must not forget this or be distracted with talk and hot air. What is happening is that, with their attitude and lack of dignity, yet again, all those politicians are looking to make political profit from the possible future repatriation of the prisoners.

- Do you have any hope that popular pressure will achieve anything for the Collective?

Personally, I expect nothing but repression from the Spanish leaders. I expect nothing from Basque and false-Navarrese collaborationists. As always, the independence movement will have to face the problems and solve them on its own, with its own strength. As always, through struggle and sacrifice. Struggling and rebelling means not allowing ourselves to be assimilated. It means resistance. And, in the long run, it means victory.


45 people gathered at the European Commission Office in Belfast and 25 in Cork city to denounce the Spanish government's criminal policy towards Basque political prisoners and to show their solidarity with Inaki De Juana, political hostage, who has already been 50 days on hunger strike. Despite he was force fed and warned of the consequences of his decisions he is going ahead with the fast.

21 September 2006


Inaki De Juana expressed his will to continue on hunger strike after he was force fed last night following orders coming from the Spanish Special Court. He was warned of the consequences by the doctors at the madrilian hospital Gregorio Maranon.

Askatasuna, organitation of solidarity with the Basque political prisoners, denounced the situation of Inaki saying that "it's of big hipocrisy for the Spanish state that they are feeding him because his life is on danger when they are trying to keep him in prison for life. We have to remenber that Inaki started the hunger strike as it was the last weapon he had to fight against the dirty tricks used by the Spanish authorities when despite he did his time to the full, 18 years, they made up new charges requesting for him 96 years for two articles he wrote in te newspaper Gara."

The Irish Basque Committees are organising protests in Cork and Belfast on Saturday and yesterday former 1981 hunger strikers Laurence McKeown and Jackie McMullan showed their support to Inaki De Juana and asked the Irish people to do the same. They are pictured on the right handside while David Kennedy from the Irish Basque Committees is on the left.

20 September 2006


Belfast lived a dramatic but finally victory year in 1981 when the ten brave republican hunger strikers gave their lives showing infinite dignity and love for their people. Thousands of Belfast people took the street to fight shoulder to shoulder with the POWs. Thousands were as well the Basques who, breaking all borders, felt the injustice in Ireland as theirs and protested in many cities.

Today the Belfast Basque Committee call everybody to come along on Saturday the 23rd at 12.30 at the European Commission Office, Windsor House and support Inaki De Juana's and the rest of Basque political prisoners fight for dignity while held as hostages in Spanish and French gaols.


BREAKING NEWS: Inaki De Juana was brought to the hospital yesterday for the third time since he started on hunger strike.

The Spanish Special Court says that Inaki De Juana will be force fed when his life will be at risk.

Today hundreds of people took part in a long day (10am-21pm)protest rally in Inaki's town, Donostia.


Five rallies under slogan "We need them alive and home" went by without
incidents in the five capitals. Attendants claimed amnesty and supported De
Juana Chaos.

Rallies to denounce penitentiary politics of Spanish and French Governments
and to claim respect to prisoners´ rights were hold today after
demonstrations were banned twice the last three days.

Thousands of people demonstrated Sunday morning in Bilbao, Donostia-San
Sebastian, Vitoria-Gazteiz, Pamplona/Iruña and Bayonne without incidents.

The five rallies passed by under slogan "We want them alive and home", and
escorted by Basque Autonomous Police and by National Police in the case of

EPPK demands not to "use" prisoners in the peace process

"Basque conflict will not be solved neither through prison politics nor
through release from prison", the association asserts. [image: Gara] Gara

EPPK, Basque Political Prisoners Group, demands pressure increase against
penitentiary politics and its responsibles. It also claims bringing them to
prisons of the Basque Country, according to a press released published in
Gara today.

"Basque conflict will not be solved neither through prison politics nor
through release from prison", the association asserts.

EPPK calls Basque society in order to " strengthen pressure against
penitentiary politics and its responsibles," and to "be persistent to get
self-determination, territoriality and recognition of the Basque Country".

The press release, addressed to French and Spanish States, showed intention
"to take new and more efficient steps towards freedom."

EPPK claims it will reject "any political project that is based in the
denial of the Basque Country" and it criticises France and Spain because
"they once again make use of prisoners to condition the freedom". Sentences,
such as, "Prisoners in exchange for peace" or "Prisoners in return for
legalization", are just "the expression of political fraud".

The press release also condemns the attempt of trying to take advantage of
the situation of the prisoners and their relatives suffering. Iñaki De Juana
Chaos, in hunger strike since Aug. 7, is mentioned in the release.

New attacks in Barakaldo, Deusto, Vitoria-Gazteiz and Tafalla

Last attack was registered Sunday afternoon in Barakaldo. Some people set
fire to a parked bus. Seven cars were damaged due to the flames.
attacked Barakaldo, Deusto (Bilbao), Vitoria-Gasteiz and Tafalla. The last
was registered in La Paz Street in Barakaldo, Bizkaia, at 6 p.m. Some hooded
people set fire to a bus.

The vehicle was parked and the driver - though no passenger - was in it.
Several people entered the bus and after obligating the woman to get it off,
they set fire on it with several molotov cocktails.

Although firemen arrived at the place on time, the flames damaged seven cars
were damaged.

*Deusto (Bilbao)*

Saturday at 11.10 p.m. protesters attacked with molotov cocktails a
euskotren train in Berrizbidea Street in Deusto. It had just stopped when
some strangers threw several molotov cocktails to one wagon.

The fire was quickly smothered by the engine driver with a fire


At around 11.20 p.m. on Saturday night an ATM was attacked with molotov
cocktails in Vitoria-Gasteiz, according to Basque Home Department. The ATM
is useless.

*Tafalla, Navarre*

Protesters threw several incendiary devices to the Court of Tafalla
triggering little damage. It happened at around 2.30 a.m. Sunday and the
artefacts only blackened the building.

13 September 2006


On August 7, Basque political prisoner Iñaki de Juana Chaos began a hunger
strike to demand his right to be released. Iñaki de Juana should have been
released on October 25, 2004, after serving his sentence in full and having
spent 18 years in jail. However, the Magistrate at the First Penal Court of
the Spanish Audiencia Nacional, Gómez Bermúdez, issued a decision dated
October 22, attempting to contest the remission Iñaki was entitled to and to
prevent his release .

In view of the impossibility to maintain this line of argument, the judge
decreed his remand in custody for an alleged crime of membership of an armed
group and terrorist threats.

The basis for the accusations were two opinion articles the prisoners sent
to the daily Gara . It is impossible to find any rational basis in the
articles to sustain such charges. Precisely, on June 14, 2006 the decision
whereby Audiencia Nacional judge Santiago Pedraz rejected the charges was
published. Judge Pedraz considered that, in the said articles, the prisoner
expressed his support for the Basque National Liberation Movement –BNLM-
which "is not comparable to ETA". He added that "this movement is not
defined as a terrorist organisation" and therefore the crime of issuing
terrorist threats was not proven.

At that point a media campaign was unleashed against the judge's decision.
The Minister for Justice stated "we shall build new charges so that they
are not released!" The State General Prosecutor, Cándido Conde Pumpido,
said "we shall continue to oppose his release insofar as it is legally
possible" and appealed Pedraz's decision.

This climate impelled the Third Section of the Audiencia Nacional Penal
Court to rectify judge Pedraz's decision, arguing that De Juana "boasted of
and extolled" his membership of ETA in the two articles, the content of
which, according to this decision" clearly displays a possible terrorist
threat". Therefore there was a new request for a 96 year prison sentence.

During recent times we have witnessed a brutal initiative supported by the
Spanish government and the special antiterrorist court, the Audiencia
Nacional, to prevent the release of prisoners who were entitled to immediate
release from prison, over and above all basic the principles of law. The
Spanish State, for reasons to do with a political revenge, considers that
Iñaki de Juana and other political prisoners in a similar situation have not
served enough time in jail. Therefore, the Zapatero administration is
attempting to instate this situation of de facto life imprisonment against
the Basque Political Prisoners' Collective, violating the universal right to
release of those who have served their sentences in full.

Furthermore, at this delicate political moment, when there is a possibility
to open up a resolution process for the conflict that has confronted the
Basque People and the Spanish state for years, the executive is using the
prisoners, making a democratic solution to the political conflict more

In these circumstances, Iñaki believes he Has no other way forward but to go
on an open-ended hunger strike, even if he it takes him to his death.
Therefore, we are asking for active solidarity towards Iñaki and we are
issuing a call to international public opinion to denounce the lack of
consistency of the new charges against him and to demand his right to be

This is a call to all groups and people in solidarity, to express their
protest to Spanish consulates and embassies and to send their messages to
the addresses of the following people, directly responsible for Iñaki de
Juana Chaos' situation.

Help save Iñaki's life!

(Spanish Embassador in Ireland)
D. José de Carvajal Salido
Spanish Embassy in Ireland
17A, Merlyn Park, Ballsbridge Dublin
Tel: 269 16 40
Fax: 269 18 54
Email: embespie@mail.mae.es.

(Spanish Prime Minister)
José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero
Presidente del Gobierno Español
Palacio de la Moncloa,
Avda. Puerta de Hierro, s/n.
28071 Madrid
Fax: 0034 913900217

(Spanish Special Court's President)
Carlos Divar Blanco
Presidente Audiencia Nacional
C/ García Gutiérrez, 1
28004 Madrid
Fax: 0034 913973381

(Spanish Prisons' Director)
Mercedes Gallizo Llamas
Directora General de Instituciones Penitenciarias
C/ Alcalá, 38-40
28014. Madrid
Fax: 91 335 40 52

1 Iñaki was tried on the basis of the 1973 Franco's Penal Code, whereby the
maximum time in prison is 30 years. Remission (i.e. time deducted from the
sentence for reasons such as good behaviour, attending workshops, studying…)
was calculated on that maximum serving time. The 1995 amendment of the Penal
Code eliminated remission and, later on, the limit to effective
sentence-serving time for prisoners convicted of "terrorism" was extended to
40 years.

2 September 2006


Working together with the Belfast Basque Committee, An Chultúrlann presents a series of Basque events celebrating the diversity of the Basque language. We'll have with us as special guest and main speaker Paul Bilbao, the director of the Observatory of the Basque Language Rights. It'll be a unique occasion to know more about one of the most mysterious and oldest language in Europe.

On Thursday 7 September, there will be a public talk on the language and its history and on Saturday 9 September, there will be a day-long workshop which will include discussions on:

-Basque language's history and main characteristics

-Last 30 years (popular movement, organizations, laws, attacks, campaigns, media) and statistics-Teaching models, ways and organizations. Adult Teaching Organisation (AEK).

-The Basque Language Defence and support movement. Strategies and organizations.Although the workshop will be of particular interest to language activists, all are welcome to attend both events. Free admission.

Public Lecture: Déardaoin 7 Meán Fómhair / Thursday 7 September 7:30

Workshop: Satharn 9 Meán Fómhair / Saturday 9 September 10:30 – 3:00 le sos do lón / with a break for lunch.

Everybody is more than welcome.

22 August 2006


The process in the Basque Country is "in a situation of evident crisis" due to "the mean attitude of the political parties," Basque armed organization ETA said in a statement published in the pro-independence daily Gara.

ETA accused the ruling Spanish Workers' Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV, in power in the so called Basque Autonomous Region), of "distorting and emptying the process of its contents."

The statement in Gara, normally used to publish claims by the armed Basque group, said that the two parties "are trying to build a process in line with their interests and their needs."

After having observed for nearly five months a permanent ceasefire that it decreed on March 22, the organization considers that the political parties "have not lived up to their responsibility."

"Instead of taking in-depth measures to feed this process and to build a democratic framework in the Basque country, they have acted blindly to wear down the positions of the Basque pro-independence left," ETA said.

A repressive attitude was "incompatible with the development of a negotiating process," it added, referring to the arrests of more than 50 people said to be close to or members of ETA since the cease fire was declared .

"If the attacks against Euskal Herria (the Basque Country) continue, ETA will reply," the group warned.

It claimed that "political, military and economic oppression" against the Basque Country was ongoing and that France and Spain "continue to use all their repressive machinery against the pillars that transform us into a nation."

ETA announced a "permanent ceasefire" in March and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero three months later said discussions would open soon with the separatist organization.

Well informed sources assured that negotiations between ETA and the Spanish goverment went ahead for 8 months until last February when an agreement was reached. ETA agreed to call a permanent ceasefire while the Spanish government agreed to make public their respect to the Basque citizens' decissions on their future. They also agreed to not to arrest any activist.


The Basque political prisoner Iñaki de Juana Chaos, who was to be released
on the 9th of February because he finished his 18-year sentence, heard on the 10th of January that he would not be released.

De Juana wrote 2 opinion articles in the leftwing Basque newspaper GARA, for which he now is accused of being 'ETA-member' and 'making terrorist threats' being in jail for what he could get another sentence of 96 years.

De Juana was convicted for 'helping' in an attack in 1986 in Madrid were 12 members of the Guardia Civil were killed and because being member of the Madrid Comando
of ETA.

Now when he had to be released after finishing his sentence, Spanish government tries to avoid his release acussing him of being ETA menber and making threats from because he denounces his situation publicly.

In this situation DE JUANA CHAOS decided to start a HUNGER STRIKE 11 days
ago. A hunger strike he sais will be till the end.

He has already lost 10 kilos as his relatives saw in their last weekend visit. They have to travel every weekend for more than 2,500 kilometres to get a 40 minutes visit. Thousands of Basque Political Prisoners' relatives have to do long distances aswell every weekend. This dispersal policy designed by the PSOE Spanish government at the end of the 80's has killed already 16 relatives in the roads. 22 political prisoners have died in prison because of this criminal jail policy.

A similar case is that of the Basque political prisoner Edorta Sainz-
Lobato, who should have been released on 13 January after 17 years, but on
orders of judge Javier Gomez-Bermudez had to stay behind bars until the
'measures of shortening the sentence' are fully investigated.

It is no coincidence; the Spanish juridical system and the Spanish Minister
of Internal Affairs Jose Antonio Alonso look for measures to prevent Basque
political prisoners to be released after serving their sentence. The Spanish
Minister of Justice Juan Fernando Lopez-Aguilar said 'they are not to be
released before they shown remorse'. At this moment there are 100 Basque
political prisoners who can be released according to the Spanish law, after
serving ¾ of their sentence. Also the shortening measures won by working in
the prison or good behaviour work not for them. Another example is Filipe
Bidart, who was due for release in February 2003. At this moment there is a
campaign for his release, among other through the Basque website

As Etxerat, the Basque political prisoners' relatives organization, pointed yesterday the prisoners are political hostages in the hands of the Spanish and French states. Indeed, due to some legal reforms introduced six months ago prisoners who already did their time (18, 19 or even 20 years) have been kept in jail and got new dates of release wich go to 2017 or 2018.

Batasuna leader voices "worry" for socialists' "lack of maturity"

Likewise, outlawed Batasuna spokesman has regretted the attempts of the
Socialist Party to "distort" the contents of a future agreement for
political normalisation. [image: Arnaldo Otegi and Rufi Etxeberria] Arnaldo
Otegi and Rufi Etxeberria

Banned BATASUNA spokesman, Arnaldo Otegi, has voiced today his "worry" for
the development of the peace process due to the "lack of maturity and
responsibility of socialist leaders. In his opinion, they try to "distort"
the contents of a future agreement for political normalisation in the Basque

Otegi, who offered a press conference in Donostia-San Sebastián alongside
party member Rufi Etxeberria, has said nobody can believe that in the talks
with socialists preceding the cease-fire Navarre region was not taken as
part of the peace process, or that leftwing nationalism swore allegiance to
the Spanish Constitution, as some socialist leaders pretend to affirm.

Likewise, he has voiced his will to work for a compromise within the next
few weeks to start a multiparty dialogue that doesn't exclude territories
and respects the will of Basques.

2 August 2006


At a press conference Otegi, Batasuna's spokeman, said that all conditions needed to set a parties' dialogue table on next autumn. He revealed that after having meetings during the last couple of weeks with all political parties (except the pro-Spanish and French right wing ones), trade unions and social organizations in the Basque Country all agree with this analysis.

He criticized PSOE for being the only one disagreeing and asking Batasuna to move and legalize. Batasuna says the main debate now is how to go ahead with the dialogue table and that it's not time to set conditions and obstacles in this way. We must remember that Batasuna is nowadays an illegal political party after PSOE and PP launched the so called Political Parties Law. That law was set to ban Batasuna. This is why, as many parties have claimed, is up to the Spanish government to sort this antidemocratic situation. Batasuna has denounced once and again the continues bids from PSOE to delay the process.

Otegi added that the pro-independence movement's goal in this political process is to achieve a situation where the Basque Country will be able to decide about her future in a free and peaceful way.

When he was asked about the PP's position attacking the process he said that they don't have the veto right and compared them to the unionists in Ireland.


On June 29th President Zapatero made a statement in one of the lounges of the Spanish Parliament. It was spread at length.In this information we compile the different reactions to this statement and its different interpretations so that our readers can drawn their own conclusions.

Zapatero's statement in the Parliament lounge

It was a relevant eagerly waited and largely announced political act.On June 29 Zapatero announced in a Parliament lounge his readiness to dialogue with ETA.The message touched two important questions: on one hand, the government officially announced the beginning of the talks; on the other hand, he assured that "the government will respect the decisions taken by the Basque citizens ". The statement was bound to be said with the usual dressing: defence of the current political frame, the high degree of self-government that we Basque people enjoy, disqualification of the violent response, the Constitution as the limit to any change, there will not be any political price for peace. In order to reach what he called "great political agreement on coexistence"Zapatero fixed three criterion: maximum possible consensus , respect to the political plurality in Euskadi and equal opportunities". Then he detailed three rules: "democratic will, subject to legality and a wide political agreement which includes the pluralism of the Basque society ". He directly addressed to this society when he stress that "peace is our common task; peace will be strong if it has deep social roots; political, social and union agents must reach agreements to establish a coexistence frame based on dialogue".

Reactions to the statement Basque Autonomous Government.

It express its satisfaction at the Spanish president statement and on its opinion is to be regretted that the Spanish president was no as receptive as now when the Basque president present his conflict resolution plan, the Ibarretxe Plan, in this same Spanish parliament.The parties that take part in the tripartite Basque government positively received the statement, but with some nuances: "the terminology and the concepts are calculatedly ambiguous. At the end of this process the recognition of a new political subject -the Basque people- has to arise" (PNV). "It means implicitly recognizing the Basque citizens right to decide their future". (EA) "The wish to promote a political agreement is a big advance. There is no reason for not starting the parties table on next autumn" (Ezker Batua). The socialist family addressed to all the Basque parties: "It is time for responsibility. It is generating expectations. I hope the political parties rise to the occasion in order to look for a common factor " (Socialist Party of Euskadi). "If we do not try to find a solution now the society would never forgive us" (Socialist Party of Navarra). "France is also engaged because there are prisoners in France and because the issue affects French institutions" (French Socialist Party). The Basque trade unions: "It is a good new. The government must take steps in key of easing of tension so that the process gains credibility " (ELA). "We receive very well the start of dialogue with ETA because it is another sep towards the political normalization inEuskadi" (CCOO de Euskadi). "It is a very important sep. We are prepared and we engage to contribute to it " (UGT of Euskadi).The independentist trade union LAB assessment is that "Zapatero's statement is a very important qualitative sep forward; since the transition we have never listened this kind of words from a Spanish president. Nevertheless, it has to be very clear the any legality should be the containment wall of the Basque's will" The bellowing of the right wing who reacted at once: "ThePP can not give its support to the government so that it talks with ETA or withBatasuna. Talking with Batasuna means talking with ETA, and therefore the terrorists should have won" (PP). "The president of the government has gone today much more far than we expected, he has given his approval to the right of self -determination and to independence. In the History of the Basque country today starts a black moment. Future is not hopeful at all" (PP of the Basque Country). "This is a very sad and fateful day; we have witnessed today the capitulation of Spain. Terrorist have won because we the democrats have been defeated" (Unióndel Pueblo Navarro). "The terrorist today are having a wonderful day; 38 years of crimes, threatens and blackmail have given them the fruits they wanted" (Victims of Terrorism Association).

The international scene applauds the statement.

Many and varied voices gave their support to this step: "We express our hope that this dialogue leads to a definitive arrangement" (Jaques Chirac). "Only through dialogue and keeping the cease-fire it would be possible to find a lasting solution" (Tony Blair). "It is now essential that the Basque left has an electoral political tool to defend its position at the polls" (ERC)) Batasuna. On June 29 it made its first assessment: "this is a positive statement and has a big political importance. The Spanish president promised to respect the will of the Basque people. This is a basic concept for the ongoing political process".

On June 30 Batasuna makes its own solemn statement that in a wider and more precise way shows its position. Batasuna considers that "president Zapatero's statement is extremely important. His statement is a democratic triumph of the Basque Country and its citizenry as a whole. After long years of conflict, Madrid recognizes that negotiation is the tool to reach the solution and that solution has to be based on the world and the decision of the Basque people. The engagement, the generosity and the capacity for the fight had turned out to be basic. Batasuna thanks its militants for their steady answer to aggressions as well as for their defense of the Basque prisoners and against ilegalization. Towards the future, the key to reach the eagerly awaited solution lies in the work of the Basque agents, and this is the reason why Batasuna underlines that it is necessary that the citizenry gets involved".

11 July 2006

Zapatero and ETA reached an agreement with commitments


According to the Basque newspaper Gara, Zapatero's executive and the armed organisation reached an agreement with commitments. Conservative PP demanded"urgent" explanations from the Spanish prime minister.

Guarantees and commitments.

Gara reported quoting "sources who know about the process," that the Spanish government and ETA reached last February an agreement aiming at both sides'commitments and guarantees. Thus, the government would not carry out arrests and would respect decisions about their own future made by citizens from the four south Basque provinces under Spanish rule (the so called right to decide). On its part, ETA committed itself not to implementing acts of weapon supply once the permanent ceasefire was announced.

PP demands explanations.

On his part, the secretary-general of the conservative PP, Angel Acebes, demanded urgent explanations from Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on the "commitments and agreements" reached between the Spanish government and the armed organisation. In his opinion, these pieces of information prove the presence of a "trap process" and "negotiations with ETA outside the law." Justice Minister, Juan Fernando Lopez AguilarJusticeMinister, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, assured today in the evening that the Spanish government"completely" denies information published in the Basque left wing nationalist newspaper Gara over an agreement between the central government and theBasque armed band ETA.

Dylan to sing for peace 10/07/2006 12:59 - (SA) San Sebastian, Basque Country. Bob Dylan, the 1960s peace movement icon, willheadline a free concert on Tuesday in the Basque cityof San Sebastian lending support to the peace processin the country. The concert at Zurriola Beach will be a "happening that will be remembered as a milestone in the path of peace", according to the event's organisers, who expect 50 000 people to attend. "We are living days of hope when at last peace is possible. The gathering of thousands of people united by the music and over political ideas of any kind looks like the best way to symbolise this moment," a statement said. US-born Dylan, 65, author of peace anthems such asBlowing in the Wind and Masters of War, will come onstage at around 19:00 GMT, after Mikel Laboa, a "living legend of Basque music", according to the organisers.

3 July 2006


An unprecedented move was made by the Spanish government last Thursday as the Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero announced the start of official talks with ETA within the next weeks. It was an expected statement but still very important. What it wasn't so expected was the second part of the statement where he declared that the Spanish government will respect the freely taken decisions by the Basque citizens. He added that it's upon the Basque political parties, trade unions and social organizations to reach an agreement through dialogue without exclusion and equal opportunities for all the different political options.

Batasuna welcomed the announcement as very important and positive and claimed that it is the Basque Country's democratic victory after years of conflict that the Spanish government admits that the resolution will come through negotiation and acceptance of the Basque people's will. They celebrated as well the beginning of talks with ETA and highlighted that this way is the way suggested by Batasuna in November 2004 when was launched their peace proposal Orain Herria, Orain Bakea (Now the People, Now the Peace)where to different negotiation tables where proposed, one between ETA and the Spanish and French governments and the other one among all Basque political organizations.

Batasuna congratulated the pro-independence left wing movement's activists for the determination and courage showed specially during the last few years of illegalitation and brutal repression and their restless defense of the Basque Political Prisoners' rights.

Therefore Batasuna called all Basque political organizations to set as soon as possible a negotiations table and gave great importance to the fundamental role to be played by all Basque people as main protagonists of the process to achieve peace, freedom, democracy and justice.

Despite the important statement made by Zapatero Batasuna asked him to call off all the repression machinery and special laws like the so called Political Parties Law which banned Batasuna and undermined political and civil rights in the Basque Country.

Batasuna called the French government as well to play their own role in the conflict resolution as one of the parts involved and to stop all repression. The French government is actually acting as mere spectator as if it was a Spanish internal problem. Three of the seven Basque provinces are under French administration and their peaceful claims of own institutions, officialness of the Basque language and repatriation of the Basque Political Prisoners have got nothing but contempt.

27 June 2006


More than 3,500 people claimed in the Baiona's streets for the Basque Political Prisoners's rights. One hundred different political, social and union organizations supported the march and well known faces were behind the banner where "Basque Prisoners with all their rights to the Basque Country" slogan could be read.

Previously the French police set heavy check points at the imposed border and closed it acting against the Schengen Agreement and attacking European citizens'rights to move freely within the EU borders.

Several hundreds of people were retained at the check points and as they couldn't transit even through their own country they decided to gather in the close town of Irun where another demonstration was held.


ETA launched last week the second statement in the last few days. The first one was addressed to the French government and its citizens and the second one to the Spanish government and the Spanish people.

ETA pointed that the PSOE's Spanish government have a historical opportunity to resolve the conflict through dialogue and negotiation and to accept the Basque people's wills but in order to achieve this all the repression machinery and strategies must finish.

We have to remember that since the ceasefire declared by ETA three months ago there have been one person arrested every three days, one political event prohibited every five days, three police check points per day and one road accident caused by the dispersal policy of Basque Political Prisoners every nine days. Repression has clearly increased.

Last Friday thousands of people gathered in more than 60 towns and cities all around the Basque Country to protest against the last police razzia (pictured is the Irunea's one).

20 June 2006


13 people have been arrested in a Spanish and French police operation in the early hours of the morning today. The police accuse them of being part of the revolutionary tax net of ETA. The arrested are: Angel Iturbe Abasolo (53 years old), Julen Madariaga Agirre (73), José Antonio Cau Aldalur (62), Cristina Larrañaga Arando (51), Eloy Uriarte Díaz de Gereñu (64), Izaskun Gantxegi Arruti (61), José Ramón Badiola Zabaleta (48), Joseba Elosua Urbieta (71), José Carmelo Lukin Bergara (31), Ramon Sagarzazu Olazagirre (69), Jean Pierre Harocarene Kamio (42) and Iñaki Aristizabal Iriarte (59).

Batasuna denounced that this is a clear and direct attack against the process and the peace hope. Otegi in a press conference this morning said this operation is been politically motivated and asked the Spanish prime minister Zapatero how does this police operation help the process. Otegi added that the Spanish government has a problem not with the Left Abertzale but with a whole nation and these kind of political-police operations can't hide it.

19 June 2006

ETA addresses the French government for negotiation

ETA launched a new statement showing their will of a democratic resolution to the political conflict with the French state. ETA denounces that the French state is being oppressing Basques specially since the 1789 Revolution and that still nowadays the Basque Country and the Basque language are not recognized by France. ETA points that the French state keeps the three Basque provinces of Lapurdi, Baxe Nafarroa and Zuberoa prisoners by force but states that thanks to the Basque people's struggle the will for freedom is still alive and getting stronger from year to year.

ETA says that it's time now to end with the traditional French contempt towards Basques and give the word and the decision about their future to Basque people.

The French snub was once again showed as they answered to ETA's statement through their Foreign Office as this was a foreign affair. The French state is killing the North of the Basque Country by turning it into a holidays resort for retired French rich people, denying and attacking the Basque language, forcing youth to emigrate to get a job or education, repressing peaceful protests and people created own institutions...

The French state is as involved in the political conflict as the Spanish state so both must be involved in the political resolution by giving the Basque people on its whole the right to decide their future.