Basque Info 2/6/09
• Dirty war offensive.
• Supreme Court rules against newspapers closing.
• Independence claims reach Rome.
• Torture denounced.
• European elections.
• Huge support for the Basque language.
Dirty war offensive.
500 people gathered on Saturday in Biarritz demanding that the French Defence Minister disclose the whereabouts of the Basque militant Jon Anza’s. He went missing on the 18th of April and two weeks later ETA claimed the Spanish and French secret services were responsible for his disappearance. The protesters were attacked with gas and batons by the police.
On Friday hundreds of people asked “Where is Jon?” at the 70 vigils for Basque political prisoners that take place around the country every week.
Last January a Basque political refugee was kidnapped and threatened by a group comprised of French and Spanish individuals just to be released a few hours later.
The former Basque political prisoner stated at a press conference last week that several individuals kidnapped him on May 19th in Bilbo. After threatening his life, they asked him to become an informer. Next day he noticed he was under surveillance by the same people. Last Wednesday these individuals approached him and identified themselves as Basque-Spanish police. They threatened him again and then violently assaulted him, as a result of which he required hospital medical attention.
Another protest was held in Irunea/Pamplona last week to denounce several “dirty war” attacks that happened recently in the province of Navarre. Death threats on walls, paint and petrol bomb attacks against independence movement bars ...The latest one happened on Tuesday when the car belonging to the spokesperson of several campaigns against repression in the province, was broken into and destroyed.
Spanish Supreme Court rules against newspaper's closure.
In July 1998 the Spanish authorities closed down the Basque pro-independence newspaper Egin and radio station Egin Irratia. Last week the Spanish Supreme Court accepted the appeal in favour of the defence when it declared the closures were in breach of the law. It was also the case not just of the mentioned media, but also of other several companies.
On the same judgement the Supreme Court halved the sentences against 38 Basque pro-independence political activists who were tried on the 18/98 case. They will still have to spend an average of 10 years in jail for their peaceful and public political and cultural work.
Many political activists judged in several political trials held a press conference last week to denounce the attacks against the civil and political rights in the Basque Country and to ask for the construction of an effective people’s wall to stop them.
Basque Independence claims reach Rome.
13 Basque pro-independence youth and three Italian supporters were arrested by the police in Rome last Saturday at the Spanish Embassy. Three of them had previously chained themselves to the embassy’s fence to denounce the Spanish and French repression against the Basque Country. The direct action attracted the attention of most of the Italian mass media.
This was the last stop of a European tour started on the 1st of May by Basque pro-independence youth with the slogan “For a youth and rebel Europe”. They visited 12 different nations where they exchanged analysis and gathered support.
Spanish state Torture denounced.
12 Basque young people were tried last week at the Spanish National Court. All of them were arrested amid allegations of brutal torture in 2001.
Those tortures were brought to the attention of the United Nations’ Rapporteur. Last week former UN Rapporteur against torture, Van Boven, released a statement reminding the Spanish authorities that they can’t use evidence extracted under torture. In 2003 Van Boven already stated that the use of torture wasn’t just sporadic or isolated in the Spanish state.
Finally the Spanish state prosecutor reached a deal with the accused in what has been seen as a way to avoid the torture reports becoming public during the trial.
Excitement in the European elections.
2,500 people filled the Anaitasuna Arena in Irunea/Pamplona for the main campaign event organised by Internationalist Initiative. The left-wing and pro-self determination electoral platform has become the sensation of the campaign across the Spanish state and clear evidence is to be found in the successful events organised over the last two weeks and the attention given in the mass media and internet forums.
The Basque pro-Independence Left has called upon Basques to vote for this platform and has thanked them for the dignity and courage displayed by them against Spanish criminalization.
Basque pro-independence spokesperson Arnaldo Otegi speaking as a guest at the rally in Irunea said that there is no solution to the conflict other than negotiation and called upon the international community to help develop that path. Otegi said that a pro-self determination people’s front has to be formed in the Basque Country in order to emerge from the current stalemate and to bring the national liberation process to the desired end.
400 people gathered at a rally in Ezpeleta last Sunday to support Euskal Herriaren Alde (In favour of the Basque Country), the pro-independence and left-wing electoral platform standing for the European elections in the north of the Basque Country (under French rule).
Huge support for the Basque language.
100,000 people took part in the day-long programme of activities organised at the annual festival in favour of the Biscay province’s Basque-medium schools last Sunday. The money raised will help the local school of Galdakao.