16 December 2009

Thousands against repression and political trials.

Following the same policies imposed by George W. Bush around the world with his “preventive wars”, from 2003 to 2005 116 Basque pro-independence citizens were arrested and most of them tortured and imprisoned in the so-called “preventive” police operations. They were accused of being potential members of ETA.

2,500 people took part in a demonstration in Iruñea/Pamplona last Saturday to show support for two local youths who are being judged along with another 11 people in one of the first trials for the preventive arrests.

The march was organised with the slogan “Yes to the possible development of all political projects”. Other banners carried slogans like “No to political trials” and “Stop torture”.

Demonstration in Iruñea/Pamplona last Saturday.

2,500 people took part in another demonstration the same day in Donostia/San Sebastian to show support for the many local youth who will stand trial over the next months for their political work within the youth movement. They are accused of being members of the banned pro-independence organization Segi. Around 150 young people have been arrested for the same reason over the last two years across the Basque Country. They face sentences of eight years in jail.

The first trial against Segi activists took place in 2005 and 23 were sentenced to six years in jail. Ten of those youth activists were released last week after doing their six-year sentences to the full. Others were released during 2009, five more were arrested while on the run and sentenced last month and another one, Arturo “Benat” Villanueva, is fighting an extradition warrant in Belfast. Despite the extradition being declared invalid by a Belfast judge the prosecution appealed. Last Monday a hearing was held at the High Court and a decision will be made in the next few weeks.

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