Press Conference, by Etxerat, Association of prisoners’ relatives, last Monday December the 8th in Donostia-San Sebastian:

ETXERAT

We close a dark 2014 for the family and friends of the political prisoners. The year began with raids but it was in February when the tears definitively marked what would be the coming year. Arkaitz Belllon died in prison at more than 1,200km distance from his home. In Andalucia, despite that he only had a few months left to complete his prison sentence, an astronomical sentence of 13 years, for burning a bus and an ATM machine, 13 years of prison. A young man who should be on the streets and he died… in Andalucia.

Arkaitz suffered beatings and mistreatment in the prisons of Algeciras, Puerto I and Seville. His death was defined as “natural” and maybe it was so; it could be. because what is more natural than dying in an area designed to annihilate people physically and mentally? The death of Arkaitz is a consequence of the current penitentiary policy. They killed Arkaitz physically but, psychologically, the stratagems that they use to break the prisoners are brutal. So brutal as to imprison a person alone, without any contact with any other prisoner for months; without even the possibility of seeing the sun. As they have done, for example, with Jon Enparantza or Arantza Zulueta.

In 2014 we have also told of the cold-blooded … 10 traffic accidents provoked by dispersion. As the months advanced we have seen how this fateful number… would rise and rise. And the following weekend, we had to go on the road again. These accidents have political culprits. But facing these accidents, the political parties and institutions haven’t lived up to them. They haven’t reacted. This despite that it signifies a violation of human rights; of the prisoners, as well as their family members. Where are the words from the parties facing these accidents provoked by dispersion? Acts that aren’t a coincidence but a CASUALTY. The policy of dispersion has provoked a traffic accident every 36 days on the way to the prisons. For that, we demand responsibility from the parties. If this crude reality wasn’t sufficient, on our travels we have been followed, road controls and harassment on the part State Security Forces. Until when?

463 political prisoners are, as of today, prisoners in the jails of Spain, France, England, Portugal and Germany. In Spain there are 356 prisoners are dispersed in 44 prisons. In France there are 98 who are completing sentences, dispersed in 28 prisons. We condemn a policy of revenge with facts since 42% are dispersed at between 800 and 1,100 kilometres from their homes. 42% at more than 800 kilometres!! 194 altogether. They maintain 37% of the political prisoners at between 500 and 790 kilometres from their homes. Trips of 2,000 kilometres for us; for their family members and friends. 1,000 to get there, 1,000 to come back.

But not just this, there are nine prisoners who in spite of being seriously ill, continue in prison. In spite of that by law, for health and by logic they should be home… they keep them prisoners in what signifies another measure of revenge. Where is their right to health? It is the case, for example, of Ibon Fernandez Iradi who suffers from multiple sclerosis but, the French judges, instead of freeing him, have asked for a third report while they keep him prisoner. Something unusual that also condemns him to spend five more months in prison. Another attack on the right to healthcare is what is being carried out with Ibon Iparragirre, imprisoned, again, in spite of suffering various illnesses and AIDS in stage C; the most advanced. Or that of Aitzol Ogorza…

But to sour even more the situation, Spain and France have leaked a news item for which it seems that they are preparing a massive transfer of political prisoners from the French state to the Spanish state. Taking advantage of a European framework agreement, Spain and France are plotting a legal trap which goes against the legal spirit of this law. And it’s that Europe tried to bring prisoners to their natural environment, to their culture, to their social environment. But nothing seems to indicate that the Spanish state wants to use this European framework agreement to put an end for once and for all to dispersion. The latest Spanish legal trap can end up sending Basque political prisoners to Africa; to Algeciras, for example. Another trap. Another botched job. Another violation of the law and human rights. The French Minister Taubira, will she permit that they violate human rights in this way? Or will she respect, as she said publicly, the will of the prisoners?

The Spanish state is very able as far as traps go. With the Doctrine that was condemned by Strasbourg and now, they are immersed again in new legal engineering to violate an agreement of the European framework. Will they commit themselves to respect human rights in this case?

These are some of the violations registered from International Human Rights Day of 2013 till the International Human Rights Day of 2014 that we cover in this report. This year they have violated the rights of children, they have violated the right to family, they have violated the right to intimacy, the right to healthcare… And this is the report which we will give to the Basque Autonomous President Iñigo Urkullu.

And at the dawn of International Human Rights Day, Etxerat wants to demand a complete commitment from all social and political agents, an absolute one so that these violations of human rights can’t be produced. Responsibility and commitment.

Eskerrik Asko [Thank You].