Regarding the death of the Basque political prisoner Arkaitz Bellón.

The Basque political prisoner Arkaitz Bellón was found dead yesterday, February 5th, in his cell at the prison of Puerto de Santa Maria I (Cadiz), more than a thousand kilometres from his home.

The cadaver of the prisoner from Elorrio, who was 36 years old, was found in his bed during a count after a rest following lunch. According to penitentiary institutions “his death points to natural causes”, but they will carry out a more detailed investigation into the causes of his death. His lawyers and family have petitioned for a doctor that they trust to be present at the autopsy.

Arkaitz Bellón, spent 13 years in prison for acts of sabotage and had the date for his release set for next May. In the time that he was imprisoned he knew first hand the cruelty of the penitentiary policy with which the Spanish state treats Basque political prisoners; he was a prisoner in the prisons farthest from his place of origin and suffered various aggressions. This past March he was the victim of a beating by guards of the prison in Sevilla, and previously he denounced attacks suffered in the prison of Puerto III in 2010 and in Algeciras in 2008.

This death, which official agencies consider “natural”, is a consequence of the cruel and inhumane policy of dispersion that the Spanish and French governments apply to Basque political prisoners. Arkaitz Bellón was dispersed to more than 1,000 kilometres from the Basque Country, far from his loved ones, alone in a cell… a host of circumstances that make possible such tragic consequences as this.

The policy of dispersion that Basque prisoners suffer must end now, the political prisoners must be transferred without delay to prisons close to their families and places of origin.

This death, apart from being a sad event, signifies a hard blow to Basque society, committed to the resolution of the conflict. A society that desires peace and the return home, safe and alive, of all the prisoners and exiles as a consequence of the political conflict.

Not one more Basque citizen must die in prison. We must all contribute to build a scenario of a just and lasting peace, without any kind of violence and in which the consequences of the conflict have been resolved.