Basque Info 9/06/10

Please find attached our latest Basque Info bulletin covering the main news of the past two weeks. You can also listen to Basque Info radio program here.

  • Massive transfer of Basque political prisoners
  • Trade union promotes the creation of the Basque state through democratic confrontation
  • Lack of investigation into Jon Anza’s disappearance
  • Illegal Police interrogations proved

Read here the bulletin:

Massive transfer of Basque political prisoners

73 Basque political prisoners, 11% of the total number, have been transferred to other jails over the past few weeks. 714 Basque political prisoners are jailed in 85 prisons across France and Spain, whose families have to travel hundreds of miles to visit them.

The massive transfers have caused concern amongst the relatives and their association, Etxerat, who has once again criticised the Spanish government’s prison policy. According to Etxerat this is a permanent policy of blackmail against the prisoners which is trying to isolate and break them.

Three particular prisons have been branded as “laboratory-prisons” by the media but the relatives say the entire government’s prison policy is a laboratory of repression.

Last week Nahia Aguado, a young female political prisoner, denounced she had received psychological pressures from prison guards to sign a statement of remorse. She was threatened with being transferred to a jail much further from her family if she didn’t sign.

Often the prisoners are beaten during the prison transfers, their relatives don’t know where they are for weeks, their belongings are stolen, they loose visits and phone calls...etc.

Etxerat said they will continue mobilising and meeting social and political organizations to stop these attacks until their relatives’ rights are respected.

Basque prisoners in 14 jails in France and Spain will start protests this month. In this way they will take over the protest campaign initiated in January by the whole Basque Political Prisoners Collective in favour of their basic rights and political status. They will lock themselves in their cells, they will organise picket lines, they will refuse any communication and they will disobey prison rules.

Last Saturday 170 people from the Gipuzkoa province went to show their solidarity to prisoners in Herrera de la Mancha jail, near Madrid. On Sunday 5 buses, full of supporters from the town of Bergara went to another Spanish jail to demand the release of their former 75 year-old mayor.

Also Solidarity Days were organised in four different towns with hundreds of people in attendance.

One political prisoner’s friends suffered a road accident on their way to visit her. They had to be taken to the hospital and the car was completely destroyed.

Trade union promotes the creation of the Basque state through democratic confrontation

Around 1,500 people took part in a public meeting organised by the Basque pro-independence trade union LAB in Irunea/Pamplona last Saturday.

The union’s general secretary Ainhoa Etxaide told the audience that there is a need to build a new pro-independence movement which will promote the creation of an independent Basque state through the democratic confrontation and without any kind of external interference or violence.

The event titled “Let’s decide from today” became a platform to launch LAB’s proposals for the coming years. Etxaide said: “We have to dispute the power of the state and the capital by joining forces. At the same time we have to overcome the limits imposed by promoting the change needed and demanded by our country. We demand that the Basque people’s will is respected.”

Etxaide also said that the crisis has proved the need for a new political and economic model. She went on to say: “We need to build the Basque state to change the socio-economic model.”

Videos about repression, solidarity with the prisoners and denouncing the disappearance and murder of Jon Anza were also screened.

A representative of the Greek trade union PAME addressed the crowd. He encouraged Europe to stand up and rebel. The audience stood up to cheer him and chant “The fight is the only way”.

Slogans in favour of Palestine were also shouted.

Lack of investigation into Jon Anza’s disappearance

Basque former prisoner and ETA volunteer Jon Anza went missing on April 2010 and he was finally found in a morgue in the French city of Toulouse. The Basque Pro-Independence Movement denounced he had been kidnapped and killed by the Spanish police.

Last week the French prosecutor finally admitted there was never a proper investigation into the case after he was found on the street semi unconscious and later he died in hospital just a few weeks after he went missing. Despite the campaign launched by his friends and relatives it apparently took 11 months to identify him.

According to Anza’s relatives this is just another evidence to confirm their suspicions of Spanish police involvement in his disappearance.

Last week the Spanish unionist parties in the Basque Autonomous Region’s parliament refused a motion presented by nationalist parties to express their concern about the strange disappearance of Jon Anza and to demand an independent investigation.