16 December 2008


Basque Info 16/12/08

-Basques tortured during 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights.

A French-Spanish police operation against ETA finished with eight people arrested. Three were arrested in France and five were arrested in the south of the Basque Country. It seems as though the French police allowed five to escape from their operation in order to let the Spanish police arrest them and torture them.

All of them have been sent to prison after five days incommunicado. During those days they were brutally tortured by the Spanish police. They were blind-folded and kept naked for the whole time; they were beaten, drenched in cold water, constantly suffocated with plastic bags and threatened with electric shocks and with being raped.

All of this happened while the world celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. The Spanish government took this opportunity to launch an alleged plan to stop torture. The anti-repression organization Askatasuna denounced the hypocrisy of such a thing and accused the Spanish government of using torture as a war tool against the Basque pro-independence movement.

Askatasuna stated that at least 60 Basque citizens have been tortured this year.
In fact, 44 anti-torture Spanish groups criticized the Spanish government plan against torture. In a public letter they addressed to the Spanish prime minister Zapatero, they ask the government to follow the UNO recommendations and cease the incommunicado practice.

The Spanish branch of Amnesty International asked, along with the suppression of the incommunicado practice, for the use of video recording of the whole process of detention.

Hundreds of people demonstrated in support of the detainees in their home towns during the week.

-Spanish government tries to divide Basque political prisoners.

Last week the Spanish home minister Rubalcaba defended the need for the dispersal policy against Basque political prisoners as a tool and a state policy to defeat ETA. 761 Basque political prisoners are scattered in 85 jails across French and Spanish territories at hundreds of miles from their homes and relatives. UNO has constantly denounced this practice as against human rights.

80 former Basque political prisoners gathered at a press conference last Saturday to denounce the latest Spanish government attempt to cause divisions and to use the Basque prisoners' collective as political hostages. They said the Spanish government want to prolong the conflict.

The Basque political prisoners’ relatives’ organization, Etxerat, said that 17 friends and relatives have died in road accidents on their way to visit their loved ones in prison during the past 20 years. The latest accident left two relatives injured last week.

Etxerat called a national demonstration on prisoners for 3rd of January next, with the main demands being: No to the death sentence! No to sentences without end! Basque prisoners to the Basque country!

Last week the three Basque western provinces' government called for the immediate release of all seriously ill prisoners.

Hundreds of people gather every Friday in more than 60 villages and towns across the Basque Country to show support for the Basque political prisoners.

-Thousands of people gathered in support of Basque language.

In 1978 40,000 people filled Bilbao’s football stadium to defend the Basque language. In 1998 125,000 people filled the Basque Country’s five main stadiums to say yes to the Basque language. Last Saturday thousands and thousands filled the Bilbao Exhibition Centre to show their commitment to live through the Basque language.

10 years ago the Basque language organizations' council, Kontseilua, was created and a strategic plan has been developed since. With last Saturday’s event Kontseilua wanted to ask for another step on the way to achieve the right to live through Basque in a Basque-speaking Basque Country. A Ten Point Manifesto was launched and new initiatives will be put in place over the coming years.

-Solidarity with Inaki de Juana in Belfast.

Former Basque political prisoner and hunger striker Inaki de Juana appeared in a Belfast Court last week to continue fighting his extradition to Spain. The Belfast Basque Solidarity Committee and supporters gathered outside. The judge will take a decision this week to see whether an extradition process proceeds or not.

10 December 2008


Basque Info 9/12/08

Main news :

ETA kills a businessman involved in the construction of the High Speed Train.

Inazio Uria owner of the Altuna and Uria construction company was shot dead on Thursday in Azpeitia, Basque Country.

The 71 year old is one of the owners of Altuna and Uria one of the biggest construction companies in Gipuzkoa which owns many construction projects in the province, including the construction of the train tracks for the future high speed train.

The construction of the high speed train has created huge controversy in the Basque Country. This new project aims to connect France and Spain with a high speed train going through the Basque Country. Although politicians and business men believe that this would benefit the Basque Country, it would destroy the landscape, and would have huge negative socio economic implications.

This project has been rejected by a big section of Basque society and has been heavily criticized in the past by ETA. In fact the Basque armed organisation, has attacked the offices of the construction companies as well as their equipment involved in this project several times.

The killing has been condemned by politicians, trade unions and other institutions and have come out defending the high speed train project. Many protests have also taken place to condemn the killing.

Following Uria’s killing, the Spanish government has agreed to proceed to the banning of the remaining pro independence councils in the Basque Country.

Pro independence councils have refused to condemned the killing of Inazio Uria. Using this excuse, The Spanish right has been putting pressure on the government through the media to ban pro independence politicians from participating in councils in the Basque Country.

1,000 people rallied in Durango, near Bilbao, last Saturday against the High Speed Train. Two people blocked trains in Durango by locking themselves inside barrels of cement on Monday while supported by another 50 people. Basque-Spanish police charged against them and arrested two.

- The pro independence movement calls on all sectors of Basque society to look at ways of opening a new political cycle.

30 years after the Spanish Constitution was imposed upon Basques, the pro independence movement notes that it has no credibility what so ever in the Basque Country. On 6th December 1978, the Spanish Constitution was rejected by the majority of the Basques.

The pro independence movement, also acknowledges that they have a responsibility to propose an alternative and have called on all sectors of Basque society, specially the pro-independence ones, to debate and think about a common strategy to achieve a democratic scenario in the Basque Country.

-Etxerat, calls to unite forces around three basic demands.

The Basque Prisoners’ relatives group Etxerat, want to unite forces around three basic demands: the release of terminally ill prisoners, as well as the immediate release of the prisoners who have fully completed their sentence and still remain in jail. Finally they have demanded to repatriate all the Basque political prisoners to the Basque Country. Currently the over 750 prisoners are scattered over 100 French and Spanish prisons.

Culture News :

Thousands of people attend the annual Basque book and music fair.

All Basque music and books were present in the Durango fair. More than 300 stalls and over 150 participants took part in it.

This year was the 43rd edition of the fair and it has been hugely popular. This is a demonstration of the strength of Basque culture which suffered persecution and it’s still ignored by Spanish and French authorities.

The historic singer Mikel Laboa was remembered. The unusual but very popular Basque singer died earlier in the week.

According to the organizers the credit crunch had very little effect on sales.

You can listen to the music of one of the biggest sellers of this year, Gatibu, by logging here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdRVtiS1cWI

2 December 2008


Basque Info 2/12/08

-First national public interview with Arnaldo Otegi.

The former spokesperson of the pro-independence movement, Arnaldo Otegi, was imprisoned by the Spanish state just weeks after the 2007 negotiation process collapsed. He was released in August of this year. For the last three months he’s been holding different meetings with a wide range of people to be able to draw an analysis of the political situation.

Last Sunday in an interview in the pro-independence daily Gara, he said that he has come to the conclusion that there is a feeling of political stalemate, especially with the ongoing terrible repressive situation. He has found frustration and scepticism also, but at the same time he has seen that many sectors are looking to the political nationalist left because they believe that this movement is the only one who can move the political scenario forward. These sectors hope the pro-independence movement will be able to take the initiative again and build an attractive broad movement for them to join.

According to Otegi, despite having made some mistakes from which they can learn, it’s now very clear that the Spanish state has failed with its last 30 years strategy to assimilate the Basque Country and to destroy the pro-independence movement.

There is also a majority of people, political majority and trade unionist majority which could create a new alternative. Otegi believes it is the work of the pro-independence movement to articulate that majority and to build an effective strategy to reach a democratic situation in the Basque Country and to continue working after towards independence and socialism.

-Largest Basque trade union celebrates national congress.

Hundreds of delegates attended last weekend the 12th national congress of largest Basque trade union ELA. Different motions were passed and among them one denouncing torture and the situation Basque political prisoners suffer in jail. ELA, who has the 35% of the votes in workers elections, reaffirmed its position in favour of the building of a broad pro-self determination movement in the Basque Country.

-Successful night in favour of the Basque Country in Belfast.

Over 120 people attended last Saturday’s ‘Songs of Struggle’ Night in Belfast organised by the local branch of the Irish Basque Solidarity Committees. Singers and musicians from Belfast, Dublin and the Basque Country created a great night of quality music, sentiments and solidarity. A new initiative, the Friends of the Basque Country network was launched and people were encouraged to join. In this way, they would be able to help raise awareness and defend the self-determination right for the Basque people.

-Basque political prisoner Axun Gorrotxategi is on hunger strike since last Thursday. She is demanding medical assistance after months of negligence.

-Last Friday 68 towns and villages across the Basque Country saw the usual weekly vigils in favour of the 762 Basque political prisoners scattered in 82 jails around France and Spain. Only 15 are imprisoned in the Basque Country. 29 of them have already served their time but are still being kept in prison as political hostages.
The largest of the vigils took place in Gasteiz/Vitoria where 450 people attended and welcomed local former prisoner Gorka Perea recently released.

-20 young people on a black list.

A massive press conference was held last Saturday in Irunea/Pamplona to denounce that the Spanish police has a black list with the names of 20 local pro-independence youth. These young people have offered themselves to appear before the judge but he has refused receiving them. Another 20 people have been arrested in the city in the last three months and 15 of them have claimed they were tortured.

The young people reaffirmed their intention to continue with their public work in their neighbourhoods to bring positive change to their community.

Basque greatest revolutionary singer and songwriter Mikel Laboa dies.

Mikel Laboa, born in Pasaia (Basque Country) in 1934, is also one of the most respected figures in contemporary Basque song due to his eagerness to revitalize and modernize Basque oral tradition. He inspired generations of Basques and put music and lyrics to their feelings about their country and freedom. He connected with the new punk and rock Basque movement in the 80’s and continued supporting young bands until he died.

Laboa had been recently honored with the Gipuzkoa Gold Medal, greatest award given by the regional Council, planned for December 23rd and which he was going to attend. He was just awarded with a prestigious music prize in Catalonia over the weekend.
His death has shocked the Basque Country and he will be very sadly missed. His music will live forever.

You can enjoy one of his most famous songs performances along the worldwide acclaimed Orfeon Donostiarra/Donostia-San Sebastian’s Choir:

26 November 2008


BASQUE INFO 25/11/08

-The left pro-independence movement calls for a real political transition.

2,500 people demonstrated in Bilbao last Thursday on the 24th and 19th anniversary of the killings of Basque pro-independence movement leaders Santi Brouard and Josu Muguruza at the hands of Spanish death squads.

At the end of the rally one of the spokespersons spoke of the need of a new democratic framework based in the right of self-determination, reunification and amnesty for all political prisoners.

He added: “Those who killed our comrades, along with the almost 30 year-old Spanish constitution haven’t been able to fulfil their objectives of assimilating the Basque Country and destroying the pro-independence movement. They haven’t been able, thanks to the struggle of the pro-independence movement in defence of the Basque Country and its citizens’ rights.”

100 people attended a similar commemoration in Barcelona.

-Hundreds protest against Spanish king’s visit.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Euskalduna Congress Palace in Bilbao last Wednesday for a protest organized by the left pro-independence trade union LAB. They carried a banner which called the employers “the kings of thieves” and demanded the right to national self-determination. Inside the building, authorities, business men, pro-Spanish politicians and trade unionists gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Basque Employers Association, chaired by the king of Spain.

-ETA's attack.

Last Thursday ETA destroyed a TV and communications centre in Bilbao. It’s understood the centre was being used by the police.

-Solidarity with Basque political prisoners.

Around 30 towns across the Basque Country saw the usual Friday’s vigils on support of the 755 Basque political prisoners. The largest protest approximately 384 people gathered in Gasteiz. Special thoughts were given to the ill prisoners who, under Spanish law, should be released.

Three of them were recently released but it is imposed that they are under curfew in their homes and that they can’t attend political events.

Prisoners in the Spanish jails of Soto del Real and Aranjuez in Madrid are holding protests such as remaining locked up in their cells and picketing against isolation and hard conditions of life.

-Spanish judiciary on the spot in Inaki de Juana’s case.

Next Friday 28th of November former Basque political prisoner and hunger striker Inaki de Juana will appear in Belfast Courts to hear the judge’s decision on his situation. A Spanish judge is trying to find ways to get this Basque citizen extradited. After the Belfast judge’s requests to clarify the accusations the Spanish judge turned to the so called “victims of terrorism associations” to ask them for help to find some kind of evidence to get the extradition.

The whole case, primarily based on Spanish revenge against Inaki de Juana, has been built around a letter allegedly written by the ex-prisoner and read at his welcome party, where the most “threatening” line says “keep onwards”.

-Demonstration asks for offical recognition of Basque language.

Confronting cold, wind and rain more than 5,000 people took to the streets of the Basque capital Irunea/Pamplona to ask the local Navarrese government to make Basque language official in all parts of the province of Navarre. The Basque language is official along with Spanish in some parts of the Basque Country but Basque speakers don’t have the same rights in other parts like the south of Navarre and the northern provinces.

-Student movement from strength to strength.

Last Saturday 4,000 young people celebrated with discussions, a dinner and concerts, the 20th anniversary of the Basque pro-independence student organization Ikasle Abertzaleak (Nationalist Students). Ikasle Abertzaleak is the largest student organization in the Basque Country. It’s organized in schools and universities and fights for a Basque National Education system which will teach Basque contents in Basque language.

-Harassment against youth continues.

Three young people were arrested for putting up Basque youth organization Segi’s posters over the weekend. The Spanish-Basque police charged them with “collaboration with armed organization”.

20 November 2008


Basque Info 18/11/08

-Brussels hosts an event which criticizes police activities and demands a democratic process to Madrid.

The group Basque Friendship (MEPs support group for a peace process in the Basque Coun¬try), was set up three years ago in the European Parliament with the aim of supporting and advan¬cing the process of democratically resolving the conflict in Basque Country. Last Tuesday, they organized a successful event in the European Parliament building.

About a hundred people, Members of Parliament of different political affiliation and origin, deputies or staff members from all parliamentary groups, journalists from various countries, NGO staff, human rights lawyers and committee members of Basque Country solidarity groups, attended the event.

Bairbre de Brún, Sinn Féin MEP, and vice president of the European Par-liament Gerard Onesta, moderated the event and introduced the two guests. They also gave their views on the subject.

The first speaker was Brian Cur¬rin, a South African lawyer, who has first hand knowledge of the conflict in the North of Ireland and of the conflict in his own country. He concluded from his experience that there are some elements and pro¬cedures which are common in the resolution of both conflicts. And he advises that, beyond the differ¬ences that may exist, these procedures of conflict resolution should be applied to other scenarios, as for example the Basque Country.

The speakers criticized the French and Spanish states repressive approach to the conflict.

-French police operations against ETA.

Two ETA members were arrested last week by French police near the border with Andorra and another two were arrested this week in the French Pyrenees. One of them was named by the police as one of “ETA leaders”.
French and Spanish first ministers showed publicly their satisfaction for the arrests. Both states propaganda machine announced once again the end of ETA.

-Inaki de Juana appears in Belfast Court.

After the issuing of an international arrest warrant against former political prisoner and hunger striker Inaki de Juana, he presented himself to the High Court in Belfast Court, accompanied by his solicitor Mr Seán Devine. Shortly afterwards, he was arrested.

A protest organised by the Belfast Basque Solidarity Committee was attended by at least 20 people who offered support with flags and a banner in favour of independence of the Basque Country.

Later that evening and after considering all the prosecution arguments the judge decided to release Inaki on a £5000 bail and other restrictions on his normal life.
Meanwhile, the judge will clarify the conditions of the Spanish warrant. Inaki de Juana will have to appear in court again on the 28th of November.

-Another three political activists imprisoned.

Three young people members were arrested, tortured and imprisoned by Spanish police last week. They have been accused of being members of Segi, the pro-independence youth organization. Segi was banned by the Spanish government in 2003 and 23 of its leadership members are doing a 6 year prison sentence for their public and political work in defence the Basque youth. Parents of the arrested said: “They have been taken away like they did in Franco times.”

2,000 people rallied last Saturday in the deteniees hometowns of Irunea/Pamplona and another 400 in the village of Amezketa against the arrests.

-Basque political prisoner taken to hospital.

Antton Lopez, held in a Spanish prison at 1,000 miles from the Basque Country was taken to hospital last week after having a brain crisis. However, he had to wait for 3 hours until the jail’s doctor attended him and another two hours more before being taken to hospital.

Organised by the Basque political prisoners’ relatives’ organization, Etxerat and most of Basque trade unions, hundreds of people gathered outside Spanish courts buildings across Basque Country to ask for the immediate release of ill prisoners and those who have already done their time but are still kept as hostages.

12 November 2008


BASQUE INFO 11/11/08


-Another French police operation against the pro-independence movement.

18 people were arrested last Tuesday and Wednesday in the north of the Basque Country by dozens of French policemen. On the 24th of September 14 members and leaders of the pro-independence party Batasuna were also arrested in the north in a similar operation. All of them were released 24 hours later. The same procedure was carried out in last week’s operation.

The arrested are well known activists in the Basque language movement and nationalist circles. They have been managing and working in pro-independence bars in recent times. According to the police the arrests were made in relation with the finances of the pro-independence movement.

The anti-repression group Askatasuna said that this is all part of a repressive plan designed by the French government to stop the success of the pro-independence movement in the north of the Basque Country. Askatasuna stated that the current problem in the Basque Country won’t be solved with more police arrests, bannings and prosecutions, but with a democratic process.

Protests against the police operation were held in many different northern villages and towns such as Hazparne (40 people), Itsasu (40), Azkain (45), Larresoro (60), Ziburu (45) and Baiona (100).


-ETA says “they won’t stand by while terrorist attack is launched against the Basque Country”.

In a wide statement written in Basque language last week, the armed Basque group ETA claimed the responsibility for 10 attacks and explained their political analysis of the conflict.

"The resistance will continue while the rights of the Basque Country are not recognized and respected," the group said in the statement.

ETA accuses the Spanish government of repeating the same mistakes made by previous governments and affirmed they will sit at a negotiation table once again. “The problem is not ETA” continues the statement. “The solution to the conflict is in the acceptance of the Basque people’s rights”, it concludes.

-More than 750 Basque political prisoners for the first time in 40 years.

Exactly 755 Basque citizens are imprisoned and scattered in 82 jails all around Spain and France. Just 16 of them are in Basque prisons. The numbers were exposed at a massive press conference held at the end of the VIII National Assembly organized by Etxerat, the Basque political prisoners’ relatives group.

They called upon Basque society and institutions to get involved in the defense of their relatives’ human rights and to create a mass movement to bring them home. A national demonstration will be organized on the 3rd of January 2009.

-Hundreds of people attended Solidarity Weekend in the North.
The Basque prisoners support group Askatasuna asked people to turn fear into strength; and to keep fighting in order to go from the current situation of French government’s contempt towards the Basque Country, to one of recognition. The call was made at the annual Solidarity Day where music, food and rallies were organized.

They remembered that more than 40 people have been arrested in the north of the Basque Country in the last two months. The estimated population in the north is 270,000 people.


-3 young people were arrested last night in the Basque capital Irunea/Pamplona for being members of Segi, the youth pro-independence organization. Segi is currently banned in the south of the Basque Country and members of its leadership are serving 6 year prison sentences.

-The Spanish National Court has launched an international arrest warrant against former Basque political prisoner and hunger striker Inaki de Juana after he didn’t appear before the judge in Madrid this morning. He was requested to answer to questions related to a letter read at his welcome rally after being released last August. The prosecutor is asking for prison for Inaki for “glorifying terrorism”. The Belfast-based solicitor Kevin Winters wrote a letter to the judge last Friday asking him to let Inaki appear before the judge through video link. This request has been ignored.


Long life Basque songwriter Benito Lertxundi released new album two weeks ago.
Benito Lertxundi started his career with the new artistic Basque group Ez dok amairu, put together in 1965, largely made up of folk singer-songwriters concerned with Basque culture.

Benito Lertxundi and others took to singing accompanied on a guitar for the first time in Basque music, a fact that came in for much criticism on the grounds that the instrument was alien to the Basque culture.

Ez dok amairu broke up in 1972 and its members took up separate paths that eventually have confirmed some of them as acclaimed and key folk Basque singers up to the 2000s. That’s the case of Benito Lertxundi, probably the most acclaimed along with Mikel Laboa. In a context of social and political unrest, they provided the musical background for the 70's period of struggle, repression and turmoil Benito Lertxundi is still very much involved in campaigns and events to support Basque language, prisoners…etc.

Itsas ulu zolia (The sea pleasant howl) is the title of his last album, released at the end of last October and can be downloaded at: http://www.e-boza.com/informazioa.cfm?abeskodea=Bakea&hizkuntza=2

5 November 2008



-Main news of the week: Increase of repression shows it’s time for change.

The left pro-independence movement denounced last week in a mass press conference the repressive situation in the Basque province of Navarre for the last few weeks. 21 people have been arrested, 14 have claimed they were tortured, 3 political organizations have been banned, 20 demonstrations have been prohibited and attacked, 7 people have been hospitalised and the number of political prisoners has reached an all time high (103 out of a total of 756 Basque political prisoners). This situation reflects the deteriorating situation in the Basque Country and the ongoing political conflict.

According to the left pro-independence movement these are times for change. The Spanish state is trying to stop change by using all their repressive tools. The coming months will define the next years situation. The nationalist left believes a democratic situation has to be reached where all political objectives will be able to be defended in the same conditions and in absence of violence.

The Spanish government knows that the left pro-independence movement is the engine for change. This is why they are using bannings, detentions, tortures, and other repressive methods against political pro-independence activists and organizations.
The Basque pro-independence movement wants to reaffirm its commitment to continue the struggle in all areas to improve the political and living conditions of Basque citizens; and in favour of independence and socialism and calls upon all other sectors who believe in the need of a democratic framework to come together.

Other news in brief:

-The Basque political prisoners support group Askatasuna made public last week that Basque prisoner Mikel Gil tried to commit suicide recently. Mikel suffers from a serious head illness and should have already been released under Spanish laws. Askatasuna denounced the terrible conditions that led Mikel Gil to try to taek his own life. Mikel has been in a Spanish jail’s hospital wing for the last nine months and has been denied his right to be seen by a doctor of his choice as well as to be transferred to a prison in his home town.

-1100 people attended vigils in eight different hospitals in the Basque Country last Friday to denounce the terrible situation of ill Basque political prisoners in French and Spanish jails.

-Four people were arrested by Spanish police in the Basque capital, Irunea/Pamplona last week. Several houses were searched and guns and explosives were allegedly found. After five days incommunicado three of them claimed they were tortured and were sent to prison accused of being members of ETA.

-Last Thursday a powerful car bomb exploded in the right wing pro-Spanish and Opus Dei owned University of Navarre in the Basque capital of Irunea/Pamplona. One hour earlier a man, claiming to represent ETA, had made a telephone bomb warning. 20 people were slightly injured by the explosion. This is the 6th time ETA has attacked this university.

- Following its consideration of the fifth periodic report of Spain, the Human Rights Committee of United Nations showed his concerned about the large scope of the definition of terrorism in the Spanish Penal Code which could lead to various violations of the rights stipulated in the Covenant. This definition has been used to ban Basque political organizations and imprison many of their members. The Committee noted with concern that cases of torture continued to be reported and recommended that Spain accelerate the adoption process of a mechanism for the prevention of torture.

-Culture news:

Internationally acclaimed Basque musician Fermin Muguruza released “Asthmatic Lion Sound Systema”, an awaited new album last Friday. The album is a unique mixed of sounds and voices from across the world.

The heterogeneous musician recorded bits and pieces while on tour on 2006. He has been supported by well known musicians such as Dave Hillyard, Stepahnie Wallace, Franklin Bubbler Waul, Ophelia, Dana Leong, Kaori, Rub-a-DUB Market, Bajka, Al Rumjen, Manu Chao, Maria de Medeiros…

Here it's the first single's video:

The album can be listened at:

31 October 2008



Tuesday 4th of November 6.30-7pm / Wednesday 5th of November 12-12.30pm

at www.feilefm.com or 103.2 FM Belfast.

*News: more political parties banned, arrests and tortures, thousands of people take to the streets to support democracy, prisoners, Basque language, against High Speed Train...
*Interview with Gorka Elejabarrieta, Basque pro-independence movement representative in Brussels.
*Music: Fermin Muguruza's new album.

2 July 2008


Basque Info 1st of July
Headlines :
- The Basque parliament of Gasteiz/Vitoria approves the proposal for a consultation on the future of the Basque Country.
-Solidarity with accused in show trial continues.
- The Spanish Labour and Conservative parties refuse to acknowledge the victims of the Spanish security forces.


- The Basque parliament of Gasteiz/Vitoria approves the proposal for a consultation on the future of the Basque country.

34 votes in favour and 33 against the proposal. That was the result.
Next October 25th Basque citizens from the provinces of Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia and Araba, will have to give their views on the way forward in the Basque country.
However the Spanish government has threatened to ban the consultation as according to the Spanish Constitution it is an illegal move.

Last May, Juan Jose Ibarretxe the president of the Basque Autonomous government announced his intention to consult Basques on their views about the future of the Basque Country.

Although most of the parties have supported the proposal the Spanish government rejected it straight away and threatened of vetoing it.

The pro independence movement has also been critical of the consultation.

The pro independence representatives in the parliament, EHAK/Communist Party of the Basque Lands, decided to give one of their votes in favour of the motion so it could be approved. The Spanish government had already made public that they would stop any kind of referendum. The pro independence movement wants to see which is the real commitment of the Basque Nationalist Party to go ahead with the referendum and that’s why they made possible for the motion to be passed. The rest of the pro independence representatives abstained at the vote to show they don’t agree with the motion.

The pro independence movement has criticised the autonomous government and the Basque nationalist Party of using the consultation to their own protect their interests and to remain in power.

They see the consultation as an exercise without any value as in the last 30 years the Basque Nationalist Party has been in power into eh Basque Country and has done nothing to resolve the political conflict.

According to Batasuna this is a unilateral proposal that’s limited to 3 of the 7 provinces of the Basque Country. For Batasuna the proposal does not go further than the constrained powers already contained in the statute of autonomy and doesn’t take into account the other four Basque provinces. The pro-independence party thinks this proposal aims to be just a mere electoral platform for the Basque Nationalist Party rather than a tool to resolve the political conflict.

As previously mentioned, the Spanish government has made it clear that they will ban the consultation. In front of that the Basque Autonomous government has defended their intentions by saying that there is nothing illegal in consulting citizens on issues such as their won future.

We will have to wait and see what happens next October and there is no doubt that we will be talking about this consultation in future bulletins.

-Solidarity with accused in show trial continues.

250 people took part in a public talk during the week and hundreds more in a demonstration last Saturday in Gasteiz/Vitoria to support the 27 activists accused in the last Spanish show trial against the prisoners support organization Askatasuna/Freedom.

The banner, which was carried by most of the accused, stated that “The Basque Country needs freedom”.

At the end of the rally one of the speakers said that the pro-amnesty movement was born with the aim of disband but no one neither a thousand of sentences will make it be disbanded. The pro-amnesty movement will disappear when all Basque political prisoners and refugees are back in home, she added.

The trial just finished last week and the state prosecutor’s petitions go up to 13 years in prison.

- The Spanish Labour and Conservative parties refuse to acknowledge the victims of the Spanish security forces.

Last Thursday the Director of the Human Rights of the Basque government presented its findings on the Victims of Violence which have a political motive.
The document counts with 109 deaths caused by security forces and 583 injured by the police or paramilitaries or right wing groups. But the Spanish labour and conservative parties criticized the document as a humiliation for the victims of terrorism and killed police officers, creating that way a hierarchy of victims.

The Director of human rights also highlighted the fact that the document could not be fully completed due to time constraints, in particular around the victims of torture. The document counts between 5000 and 7000 people who have been victims of torture.

But the pro-Spanish parties dismissed the findings and accused the human rights Director of doing a very poor job based on newspaper articles. They also dismissed the recent findings of the United Nations about the fact that torture exists and happens regularly in Spain.

-Lawyers ask for the reopening of the case around Spanish police massacre.

30 years ago the Basque capital, Irunea/Pamplona was celebrating its worldwide famous festival, the Sanfermines. On the 8th of July, while thousands of people filled the bulls’ arena, dozens of Spanish policemen got in and attacked the public. The excuse for the attack was the exhibition of banners in support of Basque political prisoners. On the day, riots spread around the city very quickly. One young left pro-independence man was killed and hundreds injured.

30 years on no one has been charged with the killing. But that police attack is still alive in people’s minds. Last week more than 70 lawyers signed a petition to ask for the re-opening of the case and bring the people responsible for the killing to court. The lawyers said that the Spanish Justice hasn’t just been blind but deaf, dumb and useless as well.

-Remembering five centuries of Spanish occupation.

Hundreds of people gathered in the streets of, Irunea/Pamplona last Saturday to remember that in 2012, it will be 500 years since the Kingdom of Navarre, the Basque state, was occupied by the Castillian army which made it loose its freedom.

At the weekend dozens of Spanish policemen surrounded the demonstration showing clearly the reality of occupation still live in the Basque Country.

This rally was just one of the many events that have been planned and organised between now and 2012. The campaign intends to create a debate and mobilizations among the citizens. The campaign started with the launch of a manifesto signed by well known historians and writers with the title “Navarre still alive. 1512-2012”.

-Rally in defence of Basque symbols.

Last Saturday a rally took place in Donostia/San Sebastian to protest against the imposition of the Spanish flag in the balcony of the local city hall. Dancers, singers and traditional musicians took part in the event celebrated outside the city hall.

The organisers warned of the many efforts put in place by the Spanish authorities to impose Spanish identity and destroy Basque symbols and called everybody to take part in the many events that will be organised over the summer. They said the Spanish flag represents the imposition and the denial of Basque rights while the Basque flag is accepted by most of Basques.
A petition was launched last week by the popular initiative Bai Euskal Herriari/Yes to the Basque Country and more than 1700 individuals and 100 associations have already signed up to it.


- Critically ill, Basque prisoner Anjel Figueroa has been transferred back to prison from hospital.

Anjel suffers from serious epilepsy and has been hospitalized several times recently.
According to the Spanish law, Anjel should be released due to his illness but the Spanish authorities are refusing to free him.

Instead, Anjel was transferred from the hospital where he was last Saturday back to prison. Although this may sound like an improvement on his health, his supporters have made it clear that Anjel’s health is not improving and that putting him back in prison is actually worse as there are no proper facilities to look after him.

- Meanwhile the relatives of prisoner Nuria Antzugurai from Donostia/San Sebastian suffered a car accident at the weekend when they were coming back from seeing her in Madrid. No one was injured in the accident.

Askatasuna hilghligted that it is the 8th accident this year of relatives going to see their loved one’s in prison.

Over 700 prisoners are currently scattered in a hundred prisons in France and Spain.

24 June 2008


Basque Info News 24th of June

Headlines :

-The Show trial to complete the banning of pro-independence parties takes place.
-The court case against the pro amnesty movement comes to a close.
-Cruelty against Basque prisoners is on the increase.
-Demonstrations take place in favour of real change.


- The Show trial to complete the banning of pro-independence parties takes place.

After the banning of Batasuna in 2003 now it is the turn of EHAK/Communist Party of the Basque Lands and ANV/Basque Nationalist Action. The activities of both parties were suspended last February at the start of the illegalization process.

For the last two weeks the Spanish Supreme Court has been trying to find evidence against the two parties to conclude the banning process. Once again, as it happens in all the trials against pro-independence Basque citizens and organizations, the accused have had to prove their innocence rather than the prosecution proving that they are guilty. Once again it’s clear that the sentence has been already written.

The state prosecutor has only presented police officers as independent and technical witnesses in the case. Their assessments have been proved to be full of contradictions and they haven’t been able to connect EHAK and ANV parties with Batasuna, the already banned party. This alleged connection is the main reason to ban both political parties.

Even the pro-Spanish media noticed the lack of evidence but this won’t be a problem for the so-called Spanish justice and the pro-independence parties will definitely be banned.

- The court case against the pro amnesty movement comes to a close.

Solidarity with those accused.

The judge has requested 10 years of prison for 21 of the Basque activists. He has asked for 13 years for another 3 and has retracted the charges against 3 of the accused.

27 Basque activists and lawyers have been tried in this latest political trial. They have all been charged for allegedly being members of ETA. These activists and lawyers have been supporting prisoners and denouncing repression and torture against Basques.
The trial finished last Wednesday and the verdict is expected soon.

The defense has qualified the evidence presented against the accused as poor. The defense lawyers highlighted the obvious lack of evidence against the accused. They also made it clear that although the prosecution has tried very hard to show the trial as democratic it’s been made very clear that it was a political trial in breach of the citizens’ rights.

As to the accused, they concluded that the tribunal has taken a huge step, as it’s gone from denying repression to criminalizing the denunciation of it. They have also denounced the political nature of the trial. However this case has given the accused the chance to highlight the reality around repression in the Basque Country for the last 30 years. And for that the accused have said that they are satisfied for having been able to highlight the repressive measures.

The support for the pro amnesty movement has been widespread. William Sloan, representative of the Association of American Lawyers has said that the accused couldn’t defend themselves in front of such madness which has no logic.

The denunciation of the trial also extended to the South of Spain. Last Wednesday at the University of Seville, one of the spokespeople in the case took part in a conference to highlight what is happening.

The conference was organized by a group of lawyers from Andalucía and was well attended with 140 people attending it despite the media pressure and threats from right wing groups.

Meanwhile in the Basque Country many protests and demonstrations have been taking place to denounce the trial.

The main demonstration took place in Irunea/Pamplona where 2,000 people marched in silence to denounce repression in the Basque Country.

At the end of the march one of the spokespeople said that the banning and imprisonment of Basques will not stop the movement for amnesty. He also made it clear that the anti-repression work will not stop while there is more and more Basques in prison and while the Spanish and French authorities continue with repression.

-Demonstrations take place in favour of real change.

In 2007, during the negotiation process, the pro-independence movement put forward a proposal for the resolution of the conflict and called it the Democratic Framework. It was based on a single autonomy for the four provinces in the south of the Basque Country and another one for the northern three. These autonomies would have the right to decide their future freely.

The negotiation process failed when the pro-independence movement’s counterparts at the talks, the Basque Nationalist Party and the Spanish Labour Party left the table refusing to accept the right of Basque citizens to decide their future.

Since then the pro-independence movement has warned of the great danger of a deal between the other two parties. This deal wouldn’t accept the existence of the Basque Country as a seven province nation and it would ignore the right to self-determination.

The pro-independence movement has developed a large campaign to present the Proposal for a Democratic Framework to the Basque people. This is being done through posters, mass mailing and public talks. Three main spokespeople were imprisoned just after the first of the public talks took place as a way to silence the proposal.

Last Saturday thousands of people took part in rallies in Bilbao, Donostia/San Sebastian and Gasteiz/Vitoria to support the campaign. The common slogan couldn’t have been clearer: “The change that the Basque Country needs: Autonomy and decision for the four provinces.”

-Amnesty International says that the Spanish State has not taken the appropriate measures to redress the accusations of torture.

The Spanish State has been criticised for not doing enough to avoid torture.
The Spanish government has refused to acknowledge the fact that torture is a regular practice and systematic when it comes to Basques. The General Secretary of Amnesty International, Irene Khan, has said that investigating cases of torture is not enough and that preventative measures are essential such as the installation of cameras in interrogation centres. She has also said that the Spanish system does not have any safety measures to protect the respect of human rights.

Irene Khan who met with the president of the Basque Autonomous government recommended to Madrid and to the Basque government that they put measures to prevent torture and to independently investigate any case of torture.

-Cruelty against Basque political prisoners.

Basque prisoner Mikel Ibanez was last week finally transferred from a prison in Madrid to an Intensive Care Unit and then to a Basque Hospital to be treated for a range of serious illnesses.

Despite his request for medical treatment in jail it wasn’t until he got into a coma last April that his appeal was heard. He was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with diabetes, anaemia and cancer. He was then sent back to prison. His lawyers, relatives and Basque organizations and citizens denounced his situation many times and organised a campaign to ask for his immediate release.

- The Collective of Basque Political Prisoners have denounced the torture and blackmail campaign, waged by the Spanish and French governments against all Basque prisoners and have called upon Basque society to mobilise in defence of their rights.

Two Basque political prisoners were beaten up by prison officers last week, twelve are still in prison despite their serious illnesses and many more have seen their sentence extended after fully serving their time. These are real life sentences.

Protests were held outside the Donostia/San Sebastian Hospital where Mikel Ibanez has been transferred to. As every Friday of the year, dozens of vigils took place all around the Basque Country to support the prisoners. The largest one was in Gasteiz/Vitoria with 366 people attending.

- The French government denies the right to the Basque language.

Basque and other minority languages in the French State will have to continue fighting for their survival without the least official recognition. The French Senate has denied any rights to the minority languages last week and the French government has said that this issue is not a priority for them.


Basque Info News 4th to 17th of June


-Batasuna reiterates its commitment with conflict resolution.

-International solidarity with the Basque Country.

-Human rights groups from the Spanish State support the Basque movement for Amnesty.

-Batasuna reiterates its commitment with conflict resolution.

Around 120 people attended a public meeting in the northern Basque town of Uztaritze to hear from the Batasuna representatives the evaluation of the failed negotiation process.

Once again the pro-independence spokespeople highlighted that there was a real opportunity to solve the conflict and that the opportunity is still there.

As they explained Batasuna based its proposals in the democratic right of the Basque citizens to decide their future and denounced the lack of courage on the side of the Spanish government. Although the French government tried to show itself as being outside of the process many signs show that they were following the process very closely and supported the Spanish positions.

-International solidarity with the Basque Country.

A group of Irish former political prisoners and Coiste activists visited the Basque Country over the weekend. They wanted to take this opportunity to show solidarity and to exchange experiences and lessons.

In a press conference last Friday Michael Culbert denounced the criminalization against the Basque anti-repression movement and remembered how the British government tried the same strategy to finally accept the political roots of the conflict and open a negotiation process.

Another delegation of the Irish Basque Committees took part in numerous events along the weekend among them meetings and rallies like the one hold in front of the Spanish governor’s offices in Bilbao.

The Basque Internationalist movement had called a solidarity weekend and groups from Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and others attended. The mayor of the District 10 of Rome, Sandro Medici, sent his solidarity greetings to the pro-independence mayors threatened by the Spanish authorities and showed support for negotiation and self-determination.

- Human rights groups from the Spanish State support the Basque movement for Amnesty.

Around 30 social groups that defend human rights in the Spanish State have signed up a manifesto in support of the accused in the macro trial.

27 Basque activists and lawyers are currently in court accused of being linked with ETA. They are all involved in anti repression work.

Around 30 people and organizations signed the manifesto, among them the former president of the European Association of Democratic Lawyers and the spokesperson of the group for the prevention of torture.

The groups have condemned the current show trial as well as the previous one’s and have accused the Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon of behaving like a sensationalist journalist.

Julen Arzuaga, Basque lawyer accused in the trial, highlighted that repression has not stopped in the Basque country and that there are more prisoners now than ever, which means that someone needs to defend them and collect all the data around repression. Julen also has made it clear that this type of work will continue as long as repression exists.

The accused in the show trial have refused to present a defence. According to the accused, the sentence has already been decided and they’ll all be punished.
The prosecution has requested 10 and 13 years for most of the accused. Today is the last day of the trial and the sentences will be known shortly.

- Over a thousand Basques protest against the increasing repression.

Last Saturday in Baiona North of the Basque Country 1300 people and representatives of different organisations as well as public representatives took part in a demonstration to say Stop to Spanish and French repression.

They protested against the serious situation of prisoners, the show trial that is taking place in Madrid against people involved in anti repression work and to protest against the judicial measures.

At the end of the protest the anti repression groups Askatasuna made it clear that they will not allow values such as solidarity and respect for freedom to become criminal acts.

-ETA attacks pro-Spanish newspaper buildings.

In the early hours of the 8th of June a bomb exploded outside one of the buildings where the pro-Spanish newspaper El Correo Espanol/The Spanish Post is printed in Zamudio, near Bilbao.

Around 40 sq. Metres were destroyed and those working at the printer had to stop their work for two hours.
The newspaper was printed with a new front page where “They will not silence us” could be read.

This is not the first time ETA attacks this particular newspaper. El Correo Espanol/The Spanish Post was one of the main pro-Franco newspapers and nowadays represents the right wing pro-Spanish interests in the Basque Country. This kind of media has been described by ETA as weapons of war against Basque freedom.

Local authorities and press associations called protests in the main cities of the Basque Country on the aftermath of the attack.

- Two more prisoners have started a hunger and thirst strike.

Jabi Abaunza and Arkaitz Bellon who are in prison in Algeciras have started the hunger and thirst strike after prison officers beat up Arkaitz Bellona.
The two prisoners were recently transferred to Algeciras and are kept separate from the other Basque prisoners.

Oier Gonzalez who is in Muret Seysses in France also continues the hunger strike he started last May 26th.

Meanwhile Basques from Urnieta near San Sebastian, remembered the death of Juan Carlos Alberdi.He died in prison 20 years ago due to lack of medical assistance.

Local Basques organised a commemoration in his memory last Sunday. They also demanded the release of all the Basque prisoners who suffer from chronic and serious illnesses.

- Another two prisoners have seen their sentence extended to a life sentence.

Pello Odriozola and Ines de Rio were due to be released in July after two lengthy sentences of 30 years. But following a new law life sentences have now been extended to 40 years and the two prisoners will be kept in prison till 2018.

Askatasuna, the anti repression group, has denounced this action and said that this new legislation has been created to destroy Basque political prisoners.

-Hundreds of people show solidarity with political prisoners.

As every Friday of the year hundreds of people took part in around 40 vigils in support of the 740 Basque political prisoners scattered in more than 100 hundred jails around Spain and France.

The largest attendance was in Donostia/San Sebastian with 380 people.
Political prisoner Mikel Ibanez was specially remembered as he was taken to hospital due to his serious illness while Spanish authorities denied his right to be released.

-Thousands support the Basque schools in the very south of the Basque Country.

One again thousands of people responded to the call of the Basque language schools to support them in the province of Araba.

Despite the rain falls a day long of events took place in the village of Bastida in the border with the Spanish region of Rioja. It was a celebration and fundraising day.

26 years ago this Basque school opened its doors with seven students. Nowadays 200 attend the school. In 1981 Bastida had 1% of Basque speakers but thanks to the school today 25% of the village’s inhabitants can speak the native language.

4 June 2008


Basque Info News 3rd of June.


- The pro independence movement criticizes the recent proposal for a Consultation on the future of the Basque Country.

-ETA encourages Basque citizens to continue fighting for an independent Basque state.

-Thousands protest against the High Speed Train.


-The pro independence movement criticizes the recent proposal for a Consultation on the future of the Basque Country.

The pro-independence movement is not happy about the consultation proposed by the Basque Autonomous government about the future of the Basque Country.

Last week the Juan Jose Ibarretxe, president of the Basque autonomous government announced that next October Basque citizens will have the opportunity to give their views on the future of the Basque Country.

The pro-independence movement is not happy with the proposal. They have accused the president of the government of using the consultation for electoral gains only. They have also accused Juan Jose Ibarretxe of negotiating with the Spanish government while he refuses to talk to Basque pro independence parties.

The pro-independence movement has also highlighted that the consultation will only take place within three out of seven provinces that constitute the so called Basque Autonomous region, leaving out the province of Navarre as well as the three provinces under French control.

According to the Basque pro-independence movement the Basque Country does not need Ibarretxe’s proposal, but a plan that includes all the political and social actors and trade unions of the Basque Country.

The pro independence movement has not made clear what way they will ask their supporters to vote on the day of the consultation. Their support is essential to give the consultation some value. Their position will be confirmed on the 27th of June and the pro independence movement has said that they will act responsibly.

Meanwhile the Spanish government has made it clear that if this proposal goes forward they will go to the constitutional tribunal to make the consultation illegal.

-ETA encourages Basque citizens to continue fighting for an independent Basque state.

In a statement published last week, ETA says that the armed organization was created to fight against oppression and that they continue with the same commitment, trying to open the door to independence and socialism. “Our goal, says ETA, is the creation of a Basque state because this will make the development of the Basque Country and its citizens possible”.

ETA acknowledges that “there are many people and organizations involved in this task. Each one working in their own capacity and from their own perspective. All of them are needed.” ETA says, that they will continue doing their part.

The armed organization thinks that “the way has to be opened day by day and that the most important thing is to develop the foundations of the Basque Country and to fight against oppression and in favor of the rights”. They also thanked the work done up until now and highlighted that the Basque Country is closer to freedom.

Following the arrests of two weeks ago in Bordeaux, ETA reminds the Spanish and French states of the need to find a political solution to the conflict. They also said that it is a mistake to persist repressing the Basque Country.

ETA also denounces the efforts of the Spanish Labour Party and the Basque Nationalist Party to reach an agreement that would ignore the territoriality and the right of self determination of the Basque Country.

-Thousands protest against the High Speed Train.

Last Saturday and despite the terrible weather Donostia/San Sebastian saw one of the largest demonstrations against the construction of the High Speed Train (HST) in the Basque Country.

Hundreds of people took part in the day long events. It marked the end of a national tour which has been giving information and denouncing the impact of the High Speed Train on the environment and economy of the Basque Country if it was finally built.

In the evening, thousands of Basques marched behind a banner which said: “Stop the High Speed Train! More debate, less imposition”. They also shouted slogans like: “Villages alive, no to the HST”, “Stop destruction!”...

Speakers at the end of the rally asked for a public debate and for the end of the works. They said that the HST will destroy the Basque landscape, the people and a way of life.

People were asked to continue fighting against this project. Speakers made it clear that it is possible to stop such a monstrous project.

Over the weekend two dumpers which are being used to build the tracks of the HST were burnt in Donostia/San Sebastian and the railway between Zalla and Balmaseda, near Bilbao was cut off.

Last night ETA blew up the offices of one of the main companies involved in the building of the HST.

-Protests against political apartheid.

One year ago there were local elections in the south of the Basque Country. 133 local pro-independence platforms and candidates were prevented of standing in the elections by the Spanish authorities. A unique case in Europe.

In order to remember and denounce this political apartheid hundreds of people took to the streets in different towns and villages in the Basque Country last week.


- Two Basque political prisoners go on hunger strike to protest against prison conditions.

Oier Gonzalez and Juan Carlos Subijana are kept in jail in the French prison of Muret Seysses and last 19th May they went on hunger strike to defend their rights.
The prisoners demand longer visits, they want an end to isolation of Basque prisoners within the prison and the right to more than 4 books and 2 CD’s at once.

-Spanish Prison authorities are refusing to release terminally and critically ill Basque prisoners.

The number of seriously ill prisoners is up to 13. According to the Spanish law, prisoners who suffer from terminal illnesses have to be released. However, in the case of Basque prisoners the authorities are refusing to do so.

Last week, the lawyer and doctor of Mikel Ibanez highlighted the serious situation of the prisoner. After falling into a coma he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

He is currently in hospital to be treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The doctor and lawyer are extremely concerned with Mikel’s health as the cancer could expand to the whole of his body.

Mikel’s lawyer has made 3 requests to release him but the Spanish high court has refused to release him.

In support of Basque political prisoners like every Friday Hundreds of Basque took to the streets to protest against the bad prison conditions.

- Meanwhile, Etxerat the group of Basque political prisoners' relatives have been in the European parliament to denounce the prison conditions that Basque political prisoners are suffering.

The relatives of prisoners met several MEP’s and lawyers last Wednesday and denounced the French and Spanish state’s policies against Basque prisoners. They highlighted that torture exists and that there is a Guantanamo in the middle of Europe.
Relatives also took the opportunity to demand what actions Europe is going to take to avoid further deaths and torture.

-Wide repression in Navarre.

Last week the Annual Report about Repression in the Basque province of Navarre was published by the Askatasuna.

The anti repression movement denounces in it that in 2007 in this province alone, there were 627 police check points, 1.165 people were identified, 145 arrested and 19 imprisoned. 9 of them denounced torture and there were 32 police attacks, 50 beatings, 164 attacks against the freedom of speech, 65 prohibitions, 26 fascist attacks and more than 50.000 euros fines. One elderly woman from the gipsy community was killed by the local police in an attack. The relatives of Basque prisoners from Nafarroa were also involved in 3 serious road accidents when going to their visit.

-“Spanish police tortures”, says Amnesty International.

According to the 2007 Amnesty International report torture is a constant and extensive method used by the Spanish police forces.

Amnesty International says that most of the torture victims are alleged members of ETA and immigrants.

The human rights organization denounced that police have complete impunity to do so.

The group for the prevention of torture has also confirmed that torture in the Spanish state is a general trend.

The group presented last week its own report around torture in the Spanish State for 2007.

689 people denounced torture in the Spanish state and 136 of the people affected were from the Basque Country.

30 May 2008


Basque Info News 27th of May


-French-Spanish police operation against ETA.

-Basque pro-independece trade union LAB reinforced.

-Spanish state violence showed in political trial.

-Political social control operative discovered.

-Campaign against High Speed Train arrives to Bilbao.

-Basque language festival "Ibilaldia 2008" goes beyond all expectations.

-French-Spanish police operation against ETA.

Four ETA members were arrested last Tuesday night in the southern French city of Bordeaux. The Spanish state TV broad casted the operation almost live. The Spanish government wanted as much publicity as they could.

The arrested could be seen surrounded by police while shouting slogans in favor of freedom for the Basque Country.

According to the Spanish government the arrested Xabier Lopez, Jon Salaberria, Igor Suberbiola and Ainhoa Ozaeta were key members of the political department of ETA. The police said that Xabier Lopez took part in the negotiations between the armed organization and the Spanish governments last year. The day of the arrests was the first anniversary of the last meeting between the two parties.

ETA offered then to disband its structures if a proposal, which would lead to an autonomy for the four southern provinces, including the right for self-determination, was accepted.

The Spanish government refused the proposal at the astonishment of the international observers who thought that this proposal was a positive one.

Another two well known citizens were arrested in connection with the police operation of Bordeaux. The 75-year-old poet Fred Fort was arrested in the northern Basque town of Baiona. The other one was the former mayor of the southern town of Andoain, Joxean Barandiaran.

Shortly after the arrests protests took place in their home towns to show support to the pro-independence militants and against repression.

-Basque pro-independence trade union LAB reinforced.

Last weekend saw the VII. Congress of the pro-independence trade union LAB.

The general secretary for the last 16 years Rafa Diez stepped down to leave the position to the 36-year old Ainhoa Etxaide who becomes the first woman to lead a class trade union in the Basque Country. Seven women and five men form the new National Executive of the trade union.

Representatives of international and local trade unions and Basque political parties were present. A spokesperson of the Cubans Workers Union congratulated LAB and showed support for Basque freedom.

LAB has never been as strong as today, since its establishment in 1974. LAB got the 16% of the votes in the last workers elections and has increased its membership in a 22% in recent times.

-Spanish state violence exposed in political trial.

As we have been informing in previous weeks, 27 human rights activists are being judged by the Spanish Special Court in Madrid. All of them have been working publicly and peacefully for many years supporting Basque political prisoners rights and relatives, denouncing torture, repression and the dirty war.

All of them have been accused of being members of ETA for doing this work.

They refused to defend themselves at the trial and do not recognize the Spanish courts’ right to judge Basques. They said the sentence has already been written and the trial is a farce.

Last week the trial, which is in its fifth week, became a trial of the Spanish state as different Basque citizens victims of state violence denounced their cases in court.

Prisoners relatives, dirty war victims, tortured people… talked as witnesses despite the judge’s efforts to stop their accounts.

-Political social control operative discovered.

It’s well known the Spanish secret services, army and police undercover operations and espionage against the pro-independence movement in the Basque Country continue unabated today.

A new case was discovered last week.

After many weeks of suspicious activity in an abandoned building in the middle of Gasteiz/Vitoria some locals decided to get in and check what was going on.

It was then when they found an elaborately prepared system of surveillance with video cameras and voice recording machines.

All of them were focused upon the main street where the pro-independence youth in the city socialize and mobilize.

-Campaign against High Speed Train arrives to Bilbao.

A mobilization and information tour against the High Speed Train (HST) is crossing the Basque Country.

The HST is the one of biggest threats to the future of Basque Country and is being built without consultation with the local population.

2,000 people gathered in Bilbao last Saturday to protest against the construction of this HST, asking to stop the works and for the beginning of a public debate around the transport model which Basque citizens may want for the Basque Country.

The slogan of the protest was “Respect the people’s will. Stop the HST!”.

-Basque language festival "Ibilaldia 2008" goes beyond all expectations.

Ibilaldia celebrated its 30th anniversary. This time Ibilaldia was placed in the Basque town of Amorebieta-Etxano, near Bilbao. As usual, people were able to enjoy Basque music, gastronomy and culture.
Citizens met in the Basque town of Amorebieta-Etxano to celebrate Ibilaldia. Ibilaldia is Bizkaia's version of the pro-Ikastola, pro-Basque language events that take place annually in the Basque Country.

Every year events are organized in the different regions of the Basque Country to raise money for ikastolas (Basque language schools).

Organizers said Ibilaldia 2008 went beyond all expectations and that influx of people was massive, with over 80,000 people attending.

Andra Mari, the ikastola in Amorebieta-Etxano, organized the 30th edition of Ibilaldia. From 09:00 to 20:00 and under the slogan 'Amore bi eta gehiago' (a play on Basque words meaning “Two loves and more”). A party atmosphere overcame this town, which is placed in the middle of Bizkaian province.

The area was divided into six different areas to enjoy Basque music, gastronomy and culture in various ways. Basque bands such as Amaia Zubiria, Pantxo eta Peio, Etsaiak and Deskontrol entertained the spectators.

Ibilaldia is organized to satisfy all tastes. People there enjoyed bertsolaritza, (Basque Country’s "spontaneous poetry"), txalaparta (typical Basque instrument), clowns, blow-up castles... Moreover, Ibilaldia paid tribute to the Basque popular song this year.

20 May 2008


Basque Info News 20th of May

Headlines :

-ETA into the offensive. Spanish police barracks are blown up.

-16,000 people support anti repression activists.

-The pro-independence movement launches a new campaign in favour of the Proposal for a Democratic Framework.


-ETA into the offensive. Spanish police barracks are blown up.

The week started with two small bombs damaging two diggers in Hernani, near Donostia/San Sebastian. It is understood the company owning the diggers is involved in the construction of the High Speed Train track. Once again the environmentalists have denounced that this train is one of the biggest threats to the Basque Country’s future.

Just two days after ETA blew up the Spanish police barracks of Legutio, near Gasteiz/Vitoria. The station collapsed killing one police officer and injuring several more. It’s been said that around 300 kilos of explosive were used.

This action has specially worried authorities as it shows ETA’s strength.

The last car bomb of the week provoked serious damage on the boardwalk of the seaside town of Getxo, near Bilbao. It looks like the bomb was directed to the Maritime Club. Getxo has been repeatedly targeted by ETA because it is where the pro-Spanish economic elite lives.

-16,000 people support anti repression activists.

As we’ve been informing in the last weeks 27 members of the anti-repression movement are being judged in Madrid in a new show trial. All of them have been involved for many years in public and peaceful work in favour of political prisoners, supporting their families, speaking out against torture, denouncing state violence and repression…

During the week Giberto Pagani, president of the European Democrat Lawyers, asked once again for the abolition of the Spanish Special Court.

On Saturday it was the turn of Basque society to protest against the show trial. 16,000 people walked the streets of Bilbao behind a banner where a slogan saying “The Basque Country needs Freedom. Enough is enough!” could be read.

700 people were at the front of the demonstration carrying the prisoner’s pictures. Behind them were the 27 accused holding the banner. One of them, Julen Arzuaga, one of our usual guests in the program, said that the pro-amnesty movement is the consequence of 30 years of state violence and repression in the Basque Country.

Meanwhile the trial has enetered its fourth week. Relatives of prisoners took part in this show trial as witnesses.
They gave account of the cruel treatment of the prisoners and the breach of their rights. They explained that if the pro amnesty movement disappears they will be no one left to defend them.

Although the judge tried to silence the family members, a doctor who looks after the prisoners was able to prove that prisoners health is not a priority in the Spanish jails and that Basque prisoners have died in prison due to neglect.

The doctor was also able to prove that torture exists in Spain.

The prisoner’s relatives actually said that they are making them suffer in the cruelest way. By not releasing sick prisoners, by keeping then away from home, by keeping the prisoners isolated.

-The pro-independence movement launches a new campaign in favor of the Proposal for a Democratic Framework.

Members of the pro-independence movement held a press conference last Saturday. They announced that a campaign will be launched in the next few weeks to inform about their Proposal for a Democratic Framework.

They want to reach all corners of the Basque Country and turn their proposal into the people’s proposal.

As they explained the current political frameworks are in deep crisis and a historic opportunity for change is still open in the Basque Country. The pro-independence movement is convinced that the majority of the Basque people are in favour of this change.

The Proposal suggests an autonomy for the four Basque southern provinces including the right to self-determination as well as the recognition of the north of the Basque Country.

The pro-independence spokespeople said that this Proposal would solve the political and armed conflict and would open the doors to independence.

- The UN Rapporteur for the promotion and protection of Human rights goes to the Basque Country.

Over a week long visit, Martin Scheinin, the Finnish rapporteur has been meeting with the Spanish Justice ministry, Basque political prisoners, victims of torture and the association of ETA’s victims.
He also assisted briefly to the current show trial that’s being taking place in Madrid against 27 Basque activists and lawyers.
His visit aimed to look at the legitimacy of the so called Spanish anti terrorism legislation and to make recommendations.
Schenin has been in places like Guantanamo, Turkey and Israel.
Following his visit Scheinin called for the end of the incommunicado period inflicted on arrested people under the anti terrorism law. He also highlighted the risk of considering as terrorism actions that are clear not terrorism acts.

Schenin also demanded a strong commitment from the Spanish government to eradicate torture. He explained that he is very aware that torture was systematic during Franco and was worried about the allegations of torture nowadays.

-25,000 people gather in favour of Basque Public Schools.

This was just another huge success of the movement in favour of the Basque language and particularly of those working if favour of public and quality Basque language education.

The festival which took part in Irunea/Pamplona has been growing since it was first celebrated in 1995. Organisers congratulated the public and ask authorities to listen to their claims to support the Basque language and abandon strategies to undermine it.

- A Basque Youth Movement delegation visits Ireland.

Invited by Ógra Shinn Féin a delegation of the Basque pro-independence youth movement toured Ireland and strengthened links last week.

ÓSF national organiser Barry McColgan said that the Basque youth movement is a great inspiration for Irish young people. Despite state repression the youth movement keeps developing effective strategies in favour of independence and socialism.

- Prison officers assault prisoner Hodei Ijurko.

He was beaten up twice. Hodei was first beaten up in a Madrid prison on May the 3rd. Following the assault, Hodei was put in isolation and incommunicado so no one could see the marks of the assault.

Hodei had asked to make a phone call which is the right of all prisoners when they get to a new prison.

Prison officers took the request very badly. 5 officers searched his cell took things belonging to him and ended up assaulting him.

- The claim put against the Basque Spanish police by the Figueroa family is archived.

The incidents happened in January, when the mother and sister of Basque political prisoner Anjel Figueroa, went to visit him in hospital.

Anjel suffers from serious epilepsy and should be released according to the law. But the Spanish authorities are refusing to do so.

Back in January when his mother and sister went to visit him in hospital a Basque Spanish police officer, requested to the family to take their clothes off to strip search them. The 2 members refused to do so and were denied access to Anjel.

Although the police officer had been originally cautioned, last week the court archived the case and said that the police officer had done nothing wrong and that she had followed the right instruction.