13 September 2006

INAKI DE JUANA ON HIS 38TH DAY ON HUNGER STRIKE

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
difficult.

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
released.

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
España
jlrzapatero@presidencia.gob.es
Fax: 0034 913900217

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

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

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