AZTNUGAL // PLEH

As I said in one of my writings, while many other people are doing their best, Spanish and French police officers keep arresting people. So I would like to tell you what happened to one of the arrested young men while he was in police custody just to give an example of what Spanish police do when they go to people’s houses very early in the morning or in the middle of the night and arrest them.

The one I am going to tell you about is a young man who lives in Iruñea (Pamplona). He was arrested with another twelve young men and women on the 12th January. After suffering various types of torture he and four others were released while the other ones were sent to jail. Out of the released Xabier was te only one who denounced tortures, all the imprisoned denounced torture to.

After being arrested, the police took the 13 people to Madrid to the General Police Station. Xabier Beortegi said they kept hitting him all over his body during the journey there and when they arrived in Madrid he got out of the car but he could not stand up. They made him bend his knees and stay like this until he was on the point of collapse. Afterwards, they covered his head with a plastic bag which did not allow him to breath. He almost lost consciousness several times. It is only one example of what people suffer and go through in the different police stations. At the end of the 4/5 days of incommunicado detention, as is the usual procedure, Xabier Beortegi had to sign a statement where “someone” had written down everything he had said during his interrogation.

After his release he said he would even have admitted being responsible for the death of Manolete, a very famous bull fighter, because he was so far gone that he just wanted those days and nights to finish as soon as possible. He was asked to repeat the same confession when facing Mr Grande Marlaska, but he says once in the court he relaized he had to denounce what he had suffered, 4 days of beatings, ill-treathment and presures.

He wasn’t the only one to sign a police-confession, Patxi Arratibel did also, the remarkable thing is that he actually signed the statement with a word written the other way around. The word was “help” in Basque language. He wrote AZTNUGAL, PLEH in English. His story gives us an idea of what people suffer under police arrest. I would say that the situation was so terrible that even two lawyers from the assigned council, have denounced the treatment police gave to some of the people arrested.

If we go back in time, we are conscious of the fact that there are so many people who have suffered over the years right back to 1936 when the Spanish Civil War started. But the international media does not cover all the situations in the same way, nor give them them the same amount of attention. Everyone should know that these kind of things are happening and everyone that suffers should have the same right to talk about it.

What I have written now is something I have read it in a couple of Basque newspapers. Not surprisingly, no Spanish newspaper has mentioned it. Such situations are very dramatic and show how necessary it is for The Basque Country to get a just and lasting peace.

Editorial Note:
When arrested people are held incommunicado, their families have no news about where are they being held, they don’t have access neither to their own lawyers or doctors. We want to highlight that the incommunicado status has been denounced by diverse international agents as a blind space where tortures can take place. Most of the last arrested activists have denounced tortures. Judge Grande Marlaska automaticaly denies all petitions for the incommunication period to be recorded, thus providing inpunity to the Spanish officers.

Our web reproduced the letter by the friend of one of the arrested who fortunately was released.