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.