13 June 2007

Basque leader Arnaldo Otegi arrested in Donostia-San Sebastian


Spanish police arrested the Basque outlawed movement's most prominent politician Friday so he can start serving a 15-month sentence for speech he gave in the conmemoration of the killing by death squads of prominent Basque militant Argala 25 years ago, a court official said.

His arrest came just three days after ETA broke off a cease fire it had declared in March last year.

News of the arrest came just minutes before Otegi was due to start a news conference in the Basque city of San Sebastian.

Arnaldo Otegi's arrest is a very serious attack against the process 08/06/07

The imprisonment this morning 8th June 2007 of Batasuna'a national spokesman and main member of the this party's Negotiating Commission supposes a Maximum gravity incident, that adds another element to the permanent aggression towards the Political Conflict Resolution Process maintained by the PSOE since ETA's Permanent Cease-Fire proclamation of March 2006, which has brought us to this situation.

Unfortunately, it is not new. Arnaldo Otegi began the Cease-fire in prison; and it is surely the most graphical example to explain which has been the real attitude of the PSOE during these fourteen months: constant aggression against the Basque pro-independence left, revenge penitentiary policies, breach of the agreements…

All these means that Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Government, has given way to repression in a new attempt to neutralize the Basque Pro-Independence and Socialist Left.

Before this new aggression, Batasuna wants to deliver the following message to both the Basque Country and the International Community:

- The Basque Pro-Independence and Socialist Left has achieved to have the necessity of a political agreement for the resolution of the conflict as the centre of the political debate.

- The Basque Pro-Independence and Socialist Left is going to contribute and push the political resolution forward, both here as well as in the international arena. It is therefore proposing concrete and feasible proposals such as Anoeta's proposal or the Political proposal of a new democratic framework.

- The opportunity to resolve the Basque conflict is still open and we let it fade away. We are conscious of the possibilities, as well as of the risks but we will work without scepticisms, concerning the political terms there are still objective conditions and subjective ones concerning the commitment shown by the Basque society…

- Each Basque or international political and social agent must take the responsibility to create positive surroundings that will favour a resolution process. The Basque Pro-Independence Left continues committed to this achievement.

The Basque Pro-Independence and Socialist Left summons the society to follow this route and, mainly, to demand all the social and political agents, from their performance area, to boost dynamics towards the resolution and to denounce the repressive routes.

We want to have a question interiorised: how can someone believe that the Spanish Government has enough commitment to create a different scenario when it imprisons the main interlocutors of the Basque pro-independence left, when it jails who President Zapatero himself defined as "man of peace and necessary interlocutor".

We are convinced that the Basque society is scandalized with the imprisonment of Arnaldo Otegi and we are convinced also that above all the difficulties this Country bids to create conditions in favour of a resolution process.

The Basque Pro-Independence and Socialist Left wants again to reinforce its commitment with that objective, because despite the difficulties, neither Zapatero nor the PSOE are going to sink this Country's anxieties for a resolution.

The lawyer and also member of the national executive of Batasuna Jone Goirizelaia visited Otegi ore around an hour, then explained to the press that Otegi is "in a normal module with the same conditions that the political and social prisoners" of Martutene.

She added that during the visit both commented "the situation created" as a result of his imprisonment and, immediately afterwards assured that, to her understanding, the Supreme Court's ruling is not a legal sentence, but "a political decision". Goirizelaia understands that it is a ruling "of revenge".

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