23 November 2009

Prisoners’ relatives ask for a “solidarity flood”.

Hundreds of Basque political prisoners’ relatives met last Sunday for their association’s annual conference. At the end of it they held a giant press conference supported by different parties, trade unions and community groups.

The speakers said this has been a very hard year for them and their relatives as conditions in the jails are deteriorating. Prisoners’ rights are breached on a daily basis: dispersal policy, life sentences, ill prisoners kept in jail, solitary confinment and isolation, threats, insults, beatings, communication obstacles, continuous and arbitrary prison transfers without notice ...

Even relatives and friends are harassed and criminalised and are forced to put their lives at risk in long road trips for a visit which then lasts only 40 minutes.

For that reason the relatives appealed to Basque society and especially to political parties, trade unions and social organizations to make a “solidarity flood” together in order to put an end to all the attacks and bring the prisoners home. As a first step they called for a national demonstration on the 2nd of January.

The Basque Political Prisoners’ Collective also released a statement over the weekend to protest against the new personal search measures imposed upon their relatives and friends before visits. The Collective said that the Spanish Government has an incredible lack of respect for dignity and that all these abuses are not going unnoticed by Basque society or the international community.

In fact just last week the Spanish Government took the first steps to reform the current Penal Code so that ex-prisoners will be under permanent control for up to 10 years after they have their sentences to the full. Other measures include the creation of more types of “terrorist offences”.

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