6 February 2008
PRO-INDEPENDENCE SPOKESPERSON PERNANDO BARRENA ARRESTED
Headlines Basque Info News Weekely Bulletin 5th February
- New offensive against the pro independence movement. Police arrest prominent Batasuna members Barrena and Urrutia.
- The Spanish court is getting ready to ban the remaining pro independence parties to prevent them from participating in the March elections.
- Basque Youth movement launches the Gazte Topagunea/Youth Encounter 2008.
ATTACKS AGAINST PRO INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT
- Police arrest prominent Batasuna members Barrena and Urrutia.
The arrest follows a court order of the Spanish High Court judge Baltasar Garzón.
Three senior members of the outlawed Basque party Batasuna were arrested on Monday.
National Court Judge Baltasar Garzon ordered the arrests of Pernando Barrena, Unai Fano and Patxi Urrutia for allegedly acting in the name of an outlawed political party. Barrena is the spokesperson for Batasuna, Fano was member of the negotiation team and Urrutia is an executive member of the party.
The arrests come after the conference given by the three activists about the process of dialogue and negotiation that failed in 2007. The conference was attended by more than 300 people and the pro-independence spokespersons explained again the positions of Batasuna during the process and the attitude of the Spanish Government.
More than a dozen high profile party members are still in jail pending investigations.
Barrena was arrested in the Navarrese town of Berriozar while Urrutia was arrested in the province's capital, Iruñea/Pamplona. The police are still looking for Unai Fano who couldn’t be arrested at his home.
Following the arrests the pro independence movement has no doubt that the arrests are a panic response of the Spanish Labour Party.
As mention, last Saturday Barrena, Urrutia and Fano gave details of the Loyola negotiations that took place in 2006 during ETA’s ceasefire, between the pro independence movement, the Spanish Labour Party and the Basque Nationalist Party.
At the talk they detailed the conflict resolution “Proposal for a Democratic Framework” based around the acknowledgment of the Basque Country and self determination.
The proposal suggests the creation of an autonomy for the four southern Basque provinces including the self-determination right. And another autonomy which would recognise the north of the Basque Country under French administration.
But the Spanish Labour Party and the Basque Nationalist Party left the negotiations.
Barrena, Fano and Urrutia have been arrested by fear that they will make public all the negotiation details.
The pro independence movement has already made it clear that Jose Luis Zapatero’s government will not silence them and that intend to explain to all Basque citizens the details of the Loiola negotiations.
People have already taken to the streets to protest against these arrests and the pro independence movement has called on Basque citizens to mobilise.
The Basque pro independence movement has also received support from the international community. Barrena has been working very hard internationally to highlight the situation in the Basque Country. Bairbre de Brun, Sinn Féin’s MEP, has shown her concern around the arrests as well as the future banning of the remaining Basque pro independence parties.
Bairbre de Brun highlighted the need to improve dialogue. According to her the solution has to be political and that the methods used up until now have no solution. De Brun also defended the right to any political party and the need for a new political process.
More pictures of Barrena's arrest: http://euskalherria.indymedia.org/eu/2008/02/46040.shtml
- New offensive against the pro independence movement. The Spanish court is getting ready to ban the remaining pro independence parties.
The banning of the Communist Party of the Basque Lands and Basque Nationalist Action party ANV is on its way. The prosecution presented last week the request to ban the remaining Basque left parties.
The prosecution wants to prevent the two parties from presenting candidates to the general election of March 9th. The closure of offices and the embargo of bank accounts has also been requested.
According to the prosecution these two parties are linked to the banned party Batasuna. That’s the main argument used to request the illegalisation of these two parties.
In addition to the banning the prosecution has requested to the Spanish Supreme Court the implementation of an extraordinary measure to the case so that it can be heard before February 11th which is the deadline to present candidates for the March elections. It is now the turn of the Spanish Supreme court to decide.
The prosecution is mainly using statements made by party spokespeople to evidence that they support Batasuna and are linked to the banned party Batasuna.
Meanwhile members of the ANV party are touring around Europe to gather support and highlight the repressive measures taken by the Spanish government.
They have only started the tour and support from cities like Berlin, Strasbourg, Gant and others and has been very positive. Political parties have shown great surprise at the way the Spanish government is taking measures such as the arrest of the executive of a political party and the bannings.
-People have also taken to the streets to protest against the up coming bannings.
Thousands of people filled the La Casilla Arena in Bilbao in a pro-independence rally at the weekend organised by the still legal ANV Basque Nationalist Action. As already mentioned this party is under great threat to be banned by the Spanish government in the next couple of weeks just before the general elections on the 9th of March.
The ANV election candidates came up to the stage to denounce the hard repressive campaign launched by the Spanish government after the end of the negotiation process and emphasized the strength of the pro-independence movement to overcome the situation.
The rally saw music, videos, Basque culture and political prisoners support displayed and a hugely emotional homage to old Eusko Gudariak or Basque Soldiers who fought against Spanish fascism in the 1936 war. Some of them came up to the stage helped by young pro-independence activists to show the unbroken chaine of struggle for a free Basque Country.
ANV Basque Nationalist Party lost 500 members in the trenches and battle fields against fascism 70 years ago. They fought along with the grandparents of those who, ironically, today want to ban them, the Spanish Labour Party lead government.
-Basque youth movement officially launched Gazte Topagunea/Youth Encounter 2008.
Since the first one was organised in 1994 every two years around 20,000 pro-independence revolutionary youths gather for four days for debates, discussions, workshops, music and fun. This unique event represents the strength and determination of the Basque youth movement and gives the opportunity to live in an independent and socialist Basque Country in small scale.
More details at: http://www.gaztetopagunea.net
PRISONERS AND DEPORTEES
-Basque political prisoner Anjel Figeroa is back in hospital following new epilepsy attacks.
37 year old Anjel has been in jail since 1994. He suffers from epileptic cesours as well as sclerosis. These illnesses have no cure.
Last Sunday, Anjel suffered four new crisis and had to be transferred to hospital from the jail in Langraitz near Gasteiz/Vitoria.
Last December following two serious epileptic attacks, Anjel was transferred to jail. Due to the seriousness of his condition he was kept in hospital for a month. He was only in jail for a week, when he started having new cesours.
Anjel seem to be recovering well in hospital because he was relaxed but the prison conditions have a serious impact on his health.
The Anjel Free Now! campaign has demanded the immediate release of the prisoner.
Protests, pickets and other events have been organised in support of Anjel and to demand his release.
According to the Spanish legislation, Anjel should be released due to his illness.
Meanwhile, Anjel’s relatives have put a claim against the Basque Spanish police. When going to visit Anjel in hospital, his relatives were refused entry to Anjel’s room because they refused to be strip searched.
-As we already informed you last week Basque political deportee Endika Iztueta died as a consequence of the injuries he received when he was mugged by local thieves in the African Republic of Cape Verde. Endika was deported by the Spanish government along other Basque militants 22 years ago from Algeria. There they had to confront hard living conditions. Soon they became a very important part of the local community and gained great respect.
Endika’s remains were brought back to the Basque Country last week. He was welcomed by hundreds of people all along the way from the Bilbao airport to his hometown of Santurtzi. Last Saturday thousands of people attended a very emotional homage at the town’s main square.
-Once again a Basque political prisoner’s relatives had a road accident last week on their way to a visit in prison. As a result Alaitz Iturriotz’s parents’ car was completely destroyed. Fortunately the Basque prisoner’s parents didn’t suffer major injuries. 17 Basque political prisoners relatives have already died in road accidents. 700 militants are kept in more than 100 jails scattered all around Spain and France at hundreds of miles from home.
-120 people protested in Portugalete near Bilbao after a local former political prisoner was arrested and imprisoned again last Wednesday. Ana Lopez will have to spend another two and a half years in jail. She was released on bail soon after her boyfriend, a political prisoner himself, died from a heart attack in jail two years ago as a result of the lack of medical assistance.
-Almost every day of the week towns and villages across the Basque Country see picket lines and vigiles in favour of the Basque political prisoners. Last week hundreds of people gathered asking for the repatriation of the 700 freedom fighters kept in French and Spanish jails.
-Two Basque citizens arrested by the French police are released.
Ainhoa Adin and Eneko Gallarraga were presented as the most wanted ETA members by the Spanish media when they were arrested. However their release was kept very quiet by the media.
French police arrested Ainhoa Adin last Wednesday in Hendaia North of the Basque Country. She was arrested in her home where she lives with her partner and 3 children. She was arrested following an order from the French Judge Laurence Levert. According to the media she was one of the most wanted ETA members. The police raided the house and didn’t find anything. She was released on Friday with no charges against her.
Eneko Gallarraga was also released following the order of the Court in Pau in France. He was released with some judicial conditions. Eneko will have to appear in court every other Monday and is not allowed to get out of the department of Atlantic Pyrenees.
Eneko was arrested 10 days ago in Urruna, north of the Basque country following a Euro warrant issued by the Spanish court. According tot eh Spanish media he was also one of the most wanted member of ETA. On his release the media kept silent.
-The silence around Basque prisoner Inigo Makazaga release is even more serious. Inigo was released on Thursday after spending 6 years in prison. He was arrested in England in 2001. At the time of the arrest he was accused of cooperating with an armed group, of possession of explosives and tentative of assassination. After spending 5 years in an English prison Makazaga was extradited to Spain. The Spanish prosecution asked for a 10 year sentence as well as a 300,000 Euro fine and 10 years ban on living in his home town. Makazaga was only sentenced to 3 and a half years and was released.
Following these arrests and releases the pro independence movement have highlighted that the French and Spanish governments are trying to weaken the pro independence movement. But they are making a mistake as this will only extend the political and armed conflict.
-The last political controversy in Spain exploded last week when the Spanish Catholic Church launched a manifesto about the next general elections. On it the Archbishops called catholics to think carefully about their vote and denounce any attempt to negotiate with ETA. This manifesto has been seen as a clear support for the Spanish right-wing Popular Party.
The high ranks of the Spanish Catholic Church supported the coup d’Etat of Spanish dictator Franco and have always been a big enemy of Basque independence.