Tomorrow, May 17th, 2016, a new political trial against Basque citizens will begin in the Spanish National Court. In this case, it deals with 9 people who were arrested on 14 September 2010 accused of forming the national leadership of EKIN and for which they are asking long sentences that range between 9 and 15 years in prison, despite that there doesn’t exist in the entire summary acts of a violent nature, nor crimes related to damage of goods and people.

Basque Peace Process has translated the content of the dosier the accussed have prepared to explain their case, it is a long dosier covering their arrest, their incommunicado detention, the tortures they suffered. you can go to each part clicking on the links below, but it can be sumarised as follows:

Basque lives matter!: A simple shout: the lives of Basque citizens are important: they are important to us, they are important Erika, Joxe, Roxika, Sandra, Ugaitz, Eneko, Urko, Anaiz and Egoitz. It is time to say ENOUGH, and that we want to live in peace, in a country that fully believes fully in their rights (as much human as well as politicals and civilizes.) In which the scourge of torture is completely eradicated and forms a part of the past; of a past to recognize and repair, so that it is never repeated.

INTRODUCTION
THE CITIZENS PROCESSED IN THE 8/2013 SUMMARY
THE CONTEXT IN WHICH THE ARRESTS TOOK PLACE
THE MANNER IN WHICH THE ARRESTS TOOK PLACE
THE FIVE DAYS HELD INCOMUNICADO AND THE GRAVE COMPLAINTS OF TORTURE
TORTURE IN THE SPANISH STATE IN THE PAST DECADES: THOUSANDS OF COMPLAINTS AND FEW INVESTIGATIONS
ABOUT THE VERACITY OF THE TESTIMONY OF TORTURE PUT FORTH IN THE DOSSIER: THE APPLICATION OF THE ESTAMBUL PROTOCOL
THE PERIOD OF PREVENTIVE PRISON, DISPERSION AND THE F.I.E.S. REGIME
THE SOLICITATION OF PUNISHMENT AND THE COMING ORAL TRIAL: TORTURE AS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT TO SUSTAIN THE ACCUSATIONS
NO MORE POLITICAL TRIALS

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Tomorrow, May 17th, 2016, a new political trial against Basque citizens will begin in the Spanish National Court. In this case, it deals with 9 people who were arrested on 14 September 2010 accused of forming the national leadership of EKIN and for which they are asking long sentences that range between 9 and 15 years in prison, despite that there doesn’t exist in the entire summary acts of a violent nature, nor crimes related to damage of goods and people.

It’s not, of course, the first case of similar characteristics. In spite of the Kingdom of Spain ratifying an unending list of international treaties in matters of Human Rights, and more specifically in matters of civil and political rights, the truth is that throughout these past decades (especially from 1997 until now), under the cover of what they have been calling the anti-terrorist fight they have arrested, tried and imprisoned numerous people for carrying out exclusively political and social acts; people who in a completely and illegitimate way, have seen how their fundamental rights and most basic civil and political freedoms (among them their very right to freedom) have been were systematically violated on the part of institutions which have the precise mission of guaranteeing them.

The case that occupies us is a sadly repeated reality and doesn’t come to an end. For that, through this present work we will try to give a detailed account of the whole of the special circumstances which surround the case as well as the serious violations of rights to which the protagonists have been victims.

To put an end to the violations of rights and the persecution of civil and political freedoms is a job for all of us.

Let’s begin.

THE CITIZENS PROCESSED IN THE 8/2013 SUMMARY

 

The people processed in the framework of the 8/2013 summary are people with a wide trajectory in the Abertzale Left as well as in different social movements. In this, a first fact that they don’t hide. They were citizens with full rights. Their civil and political rights were fully valid and, in that condition, they exercised them freely until the moment of their arrest.

That said, it is true that we aren’t dealing with people with a public or media noteworthiness, so with the end of clearing up from the first moment who they are and what they have been dedicating themselves to in the past years, we offer in the following some brief biographical details of each of them.

We are dealing with the following 9 people:

1) Urko Aierbe Sarasola: (Donostia, 1974) Has worked for years in different social groups promoting the Basque language [Euskara] such as Euskal Herrian Euskaraz, Kontseilua or Bagera (Donostiako Euskaltzaleen Elkartea). He is currently unemployed and lives in Arbizu.

2) Joxe Aldasoro Jauregui: (Iruñea, 1974) With a diploma in Infant Education and a student of pedagogy at the UNED. He works as a teacher at the Lope de Larrea de Agurain school, where he is also responsible for linguistic normalization. Since 2015, he is a councillor for EH Bildu in the town hall of Extarri-Aranatz, where he resides.

3) Aniaitz Ariznabarreta Ibarluzea: (Eibar, 1980) With a diploma in Macrobiotics and Eastern Medicine. She has been a cultural dynamizing element in different children’s camps such as Arrate Kultur Elkartea (Eibar) where he worked until the moment of his arrest. He currently works in the field of Macrobiotics and resides in Iruñea.

4) Sandra Barrentxea Diez: (Bilbao, 1975) She is a graduate of Political Science and Sociology from the UPV, she has worked as a sociologist in businesses as well as community affairs. She currently works as a specialist in equality in a grouping of municipalities. She resides in Donostia.

5) Erika Bilbao Barcena: (Bilbao, 1981) She graduated in law from the UPV. She works as a lawyer in the legal department of the trade union LAB in Erandio and has her social life in Leioa.

6) Eneko Compains Silva: (Iruñea, 1981) He graduated in Law and in Business Management; he has a Doctorate in Constitutional Law. He works as a law professor at the UPV (Ibaeta) and also practices as a lawyer in Iruñea. He resides in Tafalla in spite of that he has his social life in the Iturrama neighbourhood (Iruñea).

7) Ugaitz Elizaran Eguilar: (Miarritz, 1976) He works in cleaning and the hotel industry. He is the father of two children, a one-year-old and a 4 -ear-old. He resides in Bilbao.

8) Egoitz Garmendia Vera: (Otxandio, 1980) A mechanical engineer for the UPV he currently works as and adviser for EH Bildu in the City Hall of Vitoria-Gazteiz. He is the father of a girl and resides in Gasteiz.

9) Rosa Iriarte Laset: (Iruñea, 1982) She has been responsible for Bilgune Feminista for years. Currently a member of Bilgune Feminista and responsible for workers’ health in the trade union LAB-Navarre. Soon she will become a mother and resides in Antsoain (Navarre).

THE CONTEXT IN WHICH THE ARRESTS TOOK PLACE:

 

From its origin, the coexistence between political and civil rights of the citizens on the one hand, and the state or public administrations on the other, a permanent tension has developed, in a permanent conflict. As a general rule, where the dissidence to the established status quo has been strongest, the violations of these rights have been strongest; rights whose theoretical and ideological base, let us not forget, is precisely to offer the citizens a series of guarantees to be able to freely combat the injustices that the apparatus of the state can commit or, simply, to work for a better world or for another model of society, without having to fear being persecuted for it.

In the Basque Country, it must be said, the violation of civil and political rights has been going on for a long time and it has been especially serious from the mid-90’s. So, just as was mentioned in the introduction, it is possible to observe, for example, how the development of police operations in which Basque citizens have been arrested for their political or social activities doesn’t constitute a new phenomenon, but it comes from years ago.

It’s something completely clear that throughout the past decades the Spanish State has opted to confront the Basque disputed from parameters purely from the police and repression, strengthening what is known in political science as the right hand of the State and weakening its left hand; that is to say, committing to more police, more judges, more prisons, renouncing dialogue, negotiation and political agreement, unfortunately they continue in this.

In this general context, a part from causing a general harshening of the sentences in the penal code, the criminal types relative to belonging or collaborating to a terrorist organization have been interpreted in a completely expansive way contravening the most extensive protection and allowing that under this legal cover they imprison people who carried out social-political activities not only legitimate from the democratic point of view, but also legal from a purely legal point of view.

Also, measures which should be completely exceptional such as preventive prison, have become a common rule in their application. Many legal experts have denounced it: we are facing the penal law of the enemy.

The examples that could be cited are many: the imprisonment of the national leadership of HB, the closing of different communications media such as Egin, Egunkaria or Ardi Beltza (and more recently, Apurtu o Ateak Ireki); the banning of organizations such as Batasuna, Ekin, Askatasuna o Segi and the imprisonment of hundreds of people accused of belonging to them; the banning of numerous electoral lists and the following banning of, actively or passively, of tens of thousands of people; or the persecution of public institutions such as Udalbitza or organizations such as Askapena.

The complaints against these kinds of cases have reached many places, as much as on the part of different social and political organisms as well as different institutional leaders such as the Ararteko or the Special Investigator of the UN for the promotion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the fight against terrorism

In what occupies us now is going to be a larger case that was mentioned above.

Being this the general framework in which those arrests were produced, it isn’t less true that years 2009-2010 offered particular characteristics. Such as is known, in the whole of the organizations of the Abertzale Left, as well as their social base, were going through an internal process of debate of an unquestionable transcendence. The main fruit of that debate was Zutik Euskal Herria and the putting in march of a new political strategy developed only and exclusively by democratic and peaceful means.

Fine; for all of the steps taken to develop this debate and to put in march this new strategy were contested on the part of the with state and arrests and imprisonments. So, in October of 2009, the very framework of the debate was accompanied by the arrests of Arnaldo Otegi, Miren Zabeleta, Arkaitz Rodriquez, Sonia Jacinto, Rafa Diez, Amaia Esnal and Txelui Moreno and the imprisonment of the first five. At the end of 2009, in the very development of the debate, the National Police and the Guardia Civil arrested 35 young activists accused of being activists in Segi, who were tortured and accused and a great majority of them were imprisoned.

On 14 April 2010, after the end of the debate and the publication of Zutik Euskal Herria, a dozen people who worked in the area of Basque political prisoners were arrested (among them various lawyers who represent them).

In September of 2010, after the first months of the new strategy and the announcement on the part of ETA of the “cessation of armed offensive actions” (effective according to the communiqué, since February 2010) two operations took place. The first, which we talk about in this dossier, against nine people accused of forming part of the leadership of EKIN; the second, that which brought with it the arrest and imprisonment of six members of the internationalist organization Askapena.

In October and December of 2010 new raids were carried out against Basque independentist youth, being tortured and imprisoned no fewer than 20 people.

And to end with this cycle of police operations, the announcement on the part of ETA of a unilateral, permanent and verifiable cease fire was “responded” (this was the word used by the Spanish Home Secretary Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba) with new arrests, in this case in Navarre, 7 other Basque citizens being tortured and imprisoned accused of belonging to EKIN (the operation was publicised as being a continuation of that of September).

The political intention of all of the above seems more than clear.

THE MANNER IN WHICH THE ARRESTS TOOK PLACE

 

The arrests began around one in the morning of 14 September 2010. They took place with a large police deployment (some media spoke of more than 300 police agents to arrest 9 people) which was accompanied by a no less important media deployment, which having seen what happened, had as its objective not only to give echo to the arrests but also to the official version offered by the Home Secretary.

The truth is that in spite of having converted into something habitual for these kinds of arrests in the Kingdom of Spain, in the countries with a long democratic tradition the act of carrying out these arrests in the early hours of the morning and at the homes of those arrested is only explained if they take place in circumstances of high danger or a risk of flight; and at times not even in these circumstances (in fact, in different countries of Europe such as France or Belgium, it is a practice prohibited by Law as has been able to be seen in the last attacks in Paris, where the police had to wait until dawn to proceed to various arrests and house searches).

However, in this case, despite that they dealt with people with a fixed place of residence, with the support of family and work, with clearly established social and labour routines, they went for the option that least guarantees their fundamental rights.

We want to manifest that these people could have perfectly been cited to declare (in fact, some of them had previously stated in writing their disposition to do so in case it became necessary) or, in any case, to be arrested in circumstances, let’s say, of more normality (not during the night and respecting, among others, their fundamental rights to intimacy and their image).

On the contrary their homes were literally assaulted by dozens of heavily armed police, and that in spite that in no case to suppose a risk in the arrest (throughout the investigation at no moment was the possibility mentioned that they could have been carrying weapons, explosives, etc.)

This same circumstance of that their residences were taken by assault by a multitude of agents had another added consequence from the point of view of the procedural guarantees of those arrested: it made it impossible to guarantee an orderly search with the presence, in every moment and place, of the legal secretary, of the detainees themselves, or of someone to act as a witness.

The reality is that the police searched every house or basement in a simultaneous manner and it was impossible to continuously follow everything on the part of the detainees or witnesses.

Also, as was pointed out previously, the police intervention came accompanied by a large media deployment, a circumstance that clearly shows that the acting authority decided to put publicity and the echo in the media of the operation over the fundamental right to intimacy that accompanies anyone who lacks public relevancy.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, the majority of the media accepted the official version offered by the Home Secretary, without doing anything to contrast the information and presenting those arrested as clearly guilty before they had even appeared before the judge.

The right of the citizens to truthful, validated information, as well as the respect to the presumption of innocence of those arrested was conspicuous by its absence. More than a parallel trial in the media, there was an immediate conviction by the media.

THE FIVE DAYS HELD INCOMUNICADO AND THE GRAVE COMPLAINTS OF TORTURE

 

The people arrested in this operation remained incommunicado between 4 and 5 days during which they were submitted to all kinds of illegal interrogations by the Guardia Civil, without the presence of a lawyer and with the application of sophisticated methods of torture.

The objective of this mistreatment, in light of the facts, was at least double: on the one hand to destroy those tortured, to destroy them physically and above all, to nullify them psychologically; to nullify their will and capacity to decide on how to act. On the other, to obtain self-incriminations and multiple incriminations at any price, self-incriminations and multiple incriminations which ultimately become a fundamental tool to be able to sustain the accusations. Unfortunately, we must say that in six cases the acting agents obtained their objective.

In all of the cases the mistreatment, the threats, the harassment and torture began in the transfer to Madrid in an undercover police car. So, the detainees told about having travelled with they eyes covered and in forces positions during the hours of the journey, bent over with their chests pressing their knees and even with police agents on their backs. The majority of them were interrogated the transfer among shouts, serious threats to them as well as to their families, strikes to the head and back or even sessions of asphyxia provoked by a plastic bag, all of that in a framework of an atmosphere of absolute terror in which the agents bragged about the impunity with which they acted.

In the case of the women, moreover, they suffered mistreatment and torture of a macho and sexist character. So, several of them were undressed from the waist up and even from the waist down, and they suffered gropings and sexual harassment. Others suffered threats of gang rape or of carrying out practices that would lead to the infertility of the detainee, as well as constant humiliation and verbal harassment for the simple fact of being women.

During their time in the police station, at least during the first and second day, they impeded them from sleeping, to rest or relax, since they were forced to stand for hours in their cells every time they returned from an interrogation.

Regarding the multiple interrogations that they were submitted to without he presence of a lawyer, all of these people state having suffered an extremely harsh physical and psychological treatment during the days of their arrest, in an absolute climate of terror at the base of shouts, beatings and threats to their families, with future torture, or with the prolongation of all kinds of suffering.

From there the testimonies differ on the methods of torture inflicted and in the intensity or number of times they were carried out. Yes, all of detainees denounced having been submitted to sessions of asphyxia at least on various occasions and some of them dozens of times, even to the point of losing consciousness. On occasions, to intensify the feeling of asphyxia, at the time they put the bag over their head they also taped their mouth shut, cover their body with blankets and foam rubber, pour water in their mouths while taking off the bag or putting various agents on top of those tortured to complicate even more their already difficult respiration.

Repetitive physical exercise, as well as maintaining the body in forced positions for prolonged periods of time, at the time they were submitted to unending rounds of questions interspersed with shouts, threats and beatings, was another method of torture used in a good part of the cases.

At the same time, there exist serious doubts of that in one case they used pharmacological torture with a toxic dose of sedatives since that one the detainees denounced in an interrogation they forced her to spread a white substance all over her body and later different parts of her body “fell asleep”.

Finally, the sexual harassment that various detainees suffered deserves a mention apart. Just as they told, they were undressed and submitted to groping, on the breasts as well as the genital zones (male and female); they were harassed and threatened with being raped (or sodomized with a stick); their bodies were sprayed with water and they put them in postures that favoured the sensation of that they were going to be penetrated (standing undressed and with their chests on a table).

One has to also note that at least some of the people detained reported what was happening to the forensic examiner, and even one of them came to formally solicit habeas corpus for the developing of an absolutely illegal arrest. However, the examining magistrate of the cause, Don Fernando Grande Marlaska, ignored the complaints of the detainees that were reflected in the medical reports, he refused to investigate about what was happening and he denied the concession of habeas corpus solicited with an absolutely generic judicial resolution lacking motivation.

Part of the torture testimony is attached that every one of the detainees gave at the time, testimonies that, at least in the case of one person, gave rise to legal complaints for such serious acts that they were investigated and those responsible punished.

TORTURE IN THE SPANISH STATE IN THE PAST DECADES: THOUSANDS OF COMPLAINTS AND FEW INVESTIGATIONS

 

In light of the information of those who have studied the matter, the facts presented acts mentioned above do not represent any aberration, but rather the reiteration of a sadly repeated reality and to which no remedy has been given. So, for example, in the latest study elaborated by Euskal Memoria, one of the most exhaustive up to this date and published under the title Oso latza izan da (in English: “It has been very hard”) the Basque citizens tortured in the past decades would be close to 9,600.

But it isn’t the only study made to that effect. Already in 2009, a comparative study elaborated by the Direction of Human Rights of the Basque Government led by the prestigious legal scholar Jon Mirena Landa, (professor of Penal Law) made clear that Spain has a serious problem with torture, and that in relation to the people arrested and held incommunicado for crimes related to terrorism in the Basque Country, the official thesis can’t be defended that all the complaints obey orders dictated by ETA to their activists so that they systematically denounce the practice of it. In an infinity of cases, condemned activists didn’t denounce it at all, as well as others who had nothing to do with the organization told of very serious torture. The data turned out to be statistically incontestable.

As of today, on the initiative of the Basque government they are elaborating a technical report that intends to shine light on torture in the Basque Country in the 1960-2013 time period. The study is being directed by the prestigious Forensic Examiner Francisco Etxeberria, and the testimony of the people accused in this cause (that of those registered in the Basque Autonomous Community) have been included in it.

However, it must be said that the high quantity of torture complaints and the high quality of studies to know its true incidence contrast with the scarce persecution of it that it has obtained by public institutions of the Spanish state. Facing the thousands of complaints, condemning verdicts can be counted by the dozens, with the majority of them ending in complete or partial pardons. The Kingdom of Spain doesn’t investigate the complaints as is its obligation; there are no true independent and effective investigations of them.

Precisely for that, during the past years we have been able to see how the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) at Strasbourg has condemned the Spanish state up to a total of 7 times for their inaction at the time of investigating them1, to which you would have to add two other sentences for torture in police custody (one of which is relative to the complaint made by Jaime Iribarren, from Navarre).

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as if those sentences have modified the procedure of the Spanish state in a substantial way. So, in the case of the arrests we are dealing with, of the 9 arrested 8 gave complaints to the courts, the majority being archived without having done any profound investigations. The exception would be defined by the case of Sandra Barrenetxea, a case of torture for which various Guardia Civils will soon be heard in the Court of Bizkaia.

ABOUT THE VERACITY OF THE TESTIMONY OF TORTURE PUT FORTH IN THE DOSSIER: THE APPLICATION OF THE ESTAMBUL PROTOCOL

 

The Manual of Investigation and Effective Documentation about Torture, Cruel and Inhuman Punishment and/or Degrading Treatment, better known as the Istanbul Protocol, is the first combination of rules in the international sphere to document torture and its consequences. It was created by more than 75 experts in law, health and human rights during three years of collective effort, involving more than 40 different organizations including the High Commission for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, and was also adopted by the Office of the High Commission of Human Rights of the United Nations in the year 2000.

The General Assembly of the United Nations and the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations (since 2006 the Council of Human Rights of the United Nations) has strongly insisted in that the Principles of the Protocol are a useful tool to fight torture.

So, the main proposition of the Protocol is to serve as an international guide for the evaluation of the people who have been tortured, to investigate cases of possible torture and to report the findings to the agencies of justice or investigation. It contains internationally accepted standards and procedures about how to recognize and document torture symptoms, and provides a useful guide for doctors who wish to investigate if someone has been tortured or not.

Fine, during the year 2015 those processed in the summary have been submitted by a team of specialists in an exhaustive study based on the rules of the Istanbul Protocol (a study that will be presented as expert evidence in the oral trial and is also going to be included in some cases in the study by the Basque government which was mentioned in a previous epigraph), the main conclusion being that all of the testimony represents a high degree of credibility.

With all of that, on of the main proofs of the truthfulness of the testimony is that a high number of those arrested in this case have been receiving psychological treatment for years, with the end of overcoming the consequences of the traumatic experiences that it has left them.

THE PERIOD OF PREVENTIVE PRISON, DISPERSION AND THE F.I.E.S. REGIME

 

After the four (or in this case five) days of being held incommunicado, between the days of the 18th and 19th of September of 2010, the examining magistrate of the case, judge Fernando Grande Marlaska, agreed to the preventive prison of the nine people arrested.

If it is for that or not, the truth is that a few days after the arrests were made and the imprisonments were ordered, said judge was decorated with the Medal of Police Merit on the part of Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, at the same time the Home Secretary. That is to say, those who had made the investigations and publicly accused them in the media (the Home Secretary and the Guardia Civil) decorated someone who in theory should instruct the case with complete impartiality.

Such a distinction doesn’t seem very acceptable, even taking into account that the Guardia Civil is part of a legal process (in practice they are the ones who elaborate the accusation), the suspicions on part of the judge who was decorated are more than evident. What would they say if they accusers were decorated instead of the judge? Would that have been accepted? Of course not. At that time there was even a group of jurists in Madrid who asked that asked the CGPJ to force the return of that distinction.

But following the decision of the judge, with the measure of preventive prison, it’s necessary to recall that if it does deal with a cautious legal support, it isn’t less true that it can only be agreed upon in an exceptional manner, always and when there doesn’t exist less damaging measures to achieve their ends. To know: that the accused person can’t destroy proof: that they can’t act against the victim; or that there doesn’t exist a risk of escape.

In this case it’s clear: just as was made clear by the court appointed lawyer, the Guardia Civil carried out an unending series of raids and took an abundant amount of material in paper and computer disks and hard drives, so that it became ridiculous to sustain that they could destroy evidence when they had already been confiscated (in fact, they didn’t even plan or carry out new raids). At the same time, to defend that they could act against the victim is ridiculous given that there wasn’t even a victim in the case. And finally, it has already been mentioned, those arrested were perfectly integrated in society and one couldn’t deduce a risk of fleeing a priori. What’s more: as has been said, some of them had manifested previously and in writing their disposition to declare before the judge, so, what was the risk of fleeing?

If we observe what happened in those months, it’s true that it became habitual for the majority of the people arrested in these kind of raids (Bateragune, lawyers, Askapena, Segi…) ended up in prison. However, it isn’t less true that it dealt with an exceptional measure that wasn’t applied as such. To put it more clearly: for these kind of cases, once again, the exception was the rule.

And if that wasn’t enough, at least in one case, these people practically served the entirety of the maximum two years of preventive prison, remaining in prison until 25 July 2012. Two years in which, just as judge Javier Gomez Bermudez put it, who substituted Grande-Marlaska and someone who finally decreed their release on bail, the investigation was completely stopped, without even realizing new diligences which could justify in some way keeping them in prison.

But that wasn’t the only thing that those affected by this summary had to support. Apart from having to be in prison, as well as the immense majority of Basque political prisoners, they applied to them the measure of penitentiary dispersion. So, contrary to the rules established by the regulations in place, which establishes that the prisoner has to be as close as possible to their family and social environment, those arrested remained in prisons hundreds of kilometres from their families and friends.

That implies that their families and friends were given an additional punishment in a completely unjust and unnecessary way, and also entailed a risk to their lives and physical integrity, it meant a physical and psychological fatigue and true economic bleeding (In the case of Urko Aierbe, the measure had an added consequence: his parents could hardly visit him, for being of an advanced age and not in conditions for travels of this type).

To see it case by case:

1) Urko Aierbe Sarasola: He was imprisoned in Navalcarnero (488 kilometres from Donostia) and later transferred to Foncalent (748 kilometres away).

2) Joxe Aldasoro Jauregi: Imprisoned in Soto de Real (373 kilometres from Etxarri Aranatz) and later transferred to Navalcarnero (446 kilometres away).

3) Aniaitz Ariznabarreta Ibarluzea: Imprisoned in Soto de Real (329 kilometres), later transferred to Alcala Meco (464 kilometres), and from there to Estremera (515 kilometres), and then Martutene and Zaballa (where they began judicial diligences for her complaints of torture).

4) Sandra Barrenetxea Diez: Imprisoned in Soto de Real (429 kilometres from her home in Donostia), from where she was brought to Avila-Brieva (475 kilometres), Mucia I-El Palmar (853 kilometres), Murcia II-Campos del Rio (859 kilometres), and Alicante II-Villena (793 kilometres).

5) Erika Bilbao Barcena: Imprisoned in Soto de Real (384 kilometres) and transferred from there to Brieva-Avila (429 kilometres).

6) Eneko Compains Silva: Imprisoned in Aranjuez, 444 kilometres from Iruñea.

7) Ugaitz Elizaran Aguilar: Imprisoned in Soto de Real (421 kilometres) and later transferred to to Valencia I (603 kilometres) and Valencia II (603 kilometres).

8) Egoitz Garmendia Vera: Imprisoned in Alcala Meco (292 kilometres) and transferred in his last weeks in prison to Aranjuez (343 kilometres).

9) Rosa Iriarte Laset: Imprisoned in Soto de Real, 415 kilometres from Iruñea.

Dispersion, it must be said, wasn’t the only measure of exception applied to these people, since apart from that, inside of prison they were classified as FIES 3-Armed Group, which had different and serious implications for their rights: it implied that their communications whether oral (telephone, visiting rooms or face to face contacts) as well as written were intervened, that their reading was controlled, that they were objected to a special control by the civil servants (up to five times a day they reported where and with who they were); that they couldn’t be with more than one Basque companion in the unit, etc.

THE SOLICITATION OF PUNISHMENT AND THE COMING ORAL TRIAL: TORTURE AS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT TO SUSTAIN THE ACCUSATIONS

 

Between the coming days 17 May and 2 June, for three weeks (and maybe a fourth), the trial will be held in the Spanish National Court against these nine people processed in this summary; a trial in which they ask for high prison sentences for all of them.

So, even when in all of the summary there is not a single act of a violent nature (not against people or against property), the prosecutor as well as the private accusers are asking for the following sentences:

In the case of the Public Prosecutor: For Ugaitz Elizaran Aguilar, 12 years of prison or a penalty of special disqualification for a post or public employment for a time of 15 years. In the rest o the cases 9 years of prison and a penalty of special disqualification for a post or public employment for time of 12 years.

In the case of “Dignidad and Justicia”; for Ugaitz Elizaran Aguilar, 14 years of prison or a penalty of special disqualification for a post or public employment for 15 years, in the rest of the cases,11 years of prison and 13 years of special disqualification for a post or public employment.

In the case of the AVT: 12 years of prison and for a post or special disqualification for a time of 15 years for all of the accused.

For that they base themselves on three fundamental pillars: On one part following meetings of a political character that the defendants have no intention of denying. On another, documentation of a political character, relative to different dynamics and initiatives, and in which they don’t present, or order, or justify any violent act. And thirdly: and the most serious, the confessions obtained in police installations under serious torture.

That the different accusers continue to ignore the complaints of torture and they take advantage of them to sustain their accusations, gives a measure of the scarce democratic character that this case faces.

NO MORE POLITICAL TRIALS: THE TIME FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND COMMITMENT

 

Throughout this dossier you have been able to take account of the violations of rights and fundamental guarantees that the people involved in this case have faced. It is time to put an end to such an outrage and such an injustice. It’s time for responsibility and commitment.

As has been explained, throughout the past years, under the mantra that “everything is ETA”, there has taken place an unending violation of civil, human and political rights. It has already been mentioned the banning of political parties and social organizations, the closing of media outlets, the judicialization of politics, or the punishment of hundreds of people who did nothing but political and social activism.

Unfortunately, after the definitive end of armed activity on the part of ETA, the Spanish state continues immersed in the same logic of persecution of civil and political rights, and a good demonstration of this is that is that is it constitutes that and in other trials (it is true that the sentences have gone down).

What’s more is that the critical voices that have come out of the economic crisis and of the generalization of the cuts in social rights, the State has done nothing but put in march new repressive social tools, among those that could be cited is the Gag Rule or the latest reform of the Penal Code.

For that, we believe that we have to denounce loud and clear: these policies of exception are contrary to human rights and they deny the practice of civil and political rights (the right to freedom of expression; the right to organize, the right to mobilize or even the right to a dignified treatment).

These rights, it must be said, aren’t exclusive to those processed in the 8/2013 summary nor in any other summary; they are rights of all of us. When they attack the rights of our citizens, they attacking the rights of all of us. A free society isn’t possible when part of it is being persecuted. For that, we believe that it is up to all of us to act with responsibility and commitment, to defend our rights and to defend the rights of those processed in these kinds of cases.

Basque lives matter!: A simple shout: the lives of Basque citizens are important: they are important to us, they are important Erika, Joxe, Roxika, Sandra, Ugaitz, Eneko, Urko, Anaiz and Egoitz. It is time to say ENOUGH, and that we want to live in peace, in a country that fully believes fully in their rights (as much human as well as politicals and civilizes.) In which the scourge of torture is completely eradicated and forms a part of the past; of a past to recognize and repair, so that it is never repeated.

NO MORE POLITICAL TRIALS