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.

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