Basque Info 19/05/09
- Spanish government bans left wing European electoral platform.
In a historic development, “Internationalist Initiative – The solidarity of the peoples” was launched a few weeks ago as a joint platform of Spanish left wing parties and several pro-independence movements within the Spanish state.
Following in the steps of their repression of the Basque pro-independence movement, the Spanish government has now decided to ban the platform. Internationalist Initiative’s head candidate for the European elections is prestigious Spanish playwright Alfonso Sastre. 83 year-old Sastre is probably the most prolific Spanish language writer alive and has been living in the Basque Country and supporting the pro-independence movement there for the last 30 years.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Esquisavel has addressed a public letter to the Spanish prime minister asking him not to breach the right to freedom of speech and information.
-Basque political refugee missing.
Last Friday the anti-repression group Askatasuna and relatives of Jon Anza held a press conference to denounce his disappearance. Jon Anza was in jail for 21 years and 6 years ago he exiled himself in the north of the Basque Country. He went missing on the 18th of April and worst concerns came up on the 24th when he didn’t attend his appointment with a doctor who is treating him from cancer.
Due to the history of state directed dirty war and the previous disappearance of other refugees in the 80’s there is serious concern about what could have happen to Jon Anza.
-28 years in prison.
Basque political prisoner Jon Agirre entered his 29th year in jail last week. He should have been released several years ago according to Spanish law but the authorities have imposed on him a real life sentence. He is 67 years of age, and is very ill.
Basque political prisoner Xabier Etxeberria was handed over to Spanish police by French police last week after completing his prison sentence. He had been on hunger strike for 28 days previously. This is an extreme but necessary measure undertaken by Basque prisoners in France, to avoid being tortured by Spanish police when transfered to Spain.
Last Wednesday 50,000 Basques and Catalans attended the Spanish Cup final between Barcelona and Athletic de Bilbao in Valencia. Not surprisingly the atmosphere between both team’s nationalists supporters was amazing. The scandal occured as the teams were paraded on the pitch in front of the Spanish King. The Spanish anthem was then played. The whistles drowned out the anthem but the Spanish state-owned live television hurredly switched off their transmission as soon as it started. At half time they said it had been a human error and they replayed it with the whistles taken out and the music higher.
The Basque pro-independence party Abertzaleen Batasuna denounced the robery of all its computers and data from their office in Baiona. “Surprisingly” the thieves didn’t take with them any expensive material from next door’s newspapers office.
-Against “black lists” and bannings.
Thousands of people took to the streets of Irunea/Pamplona last Saturday to support 25 local pro-independence young people who are on a police black list. This list was drafted by the Spanish police after the arrests of dozens of local pro-independence activists over the last few months. Over 1,500 pictures were shown to them during the questionings.
The protesters spoke out against the pro-independence parties bannings and torture and denounced the lack of democracy.
-Another arrest in the north.
Well known local journalist Stephane Etxegarai was arrested by the French police last Tuesday and released without charges two days later. The anti repression movement Askatasuna protested the arrest and reminded of the 200 political arrests that had taken place in the north of the Basque Country over the last few months. 140 people gathered to support Etxegarai in Donibane-Garazi/St. Jéan-de-Pied-de-Port.
-When love is a crime.
Last Sunday hundreds of people gathered in Hernani to support their mayor Marian Beitialarrangoitia. She will be tried on Thursday at the Spanish National Court (Diplock Court) because last year she said “We love you” after the arrest and brutal tortures of two suspected ETA members.
-Tried for denouncing torture.
Two members of the Basque human rights association Group Against Torture were tried last week in Bilbao. They have been accused of insulting the feared Spanish police Guardia Civil after organising a press conference to denounce the tortures they inflicted upon a Basque pro-independence youth. There haven’t been any torture related cases investigated by the Bilbao’s courts in the last 15 years.