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Tag Archives: basque political prisoners

M. Herrero y Rodriguez de Miñon: Madrid must take certain steps to facilitate the situation


Extract from an interview with Miguel Herrero y Rodriguez de Miñon, one of the fathers of the Spanish Constitution. From the original interview, published in the newspaper Noticias de Gipuzkoa on May 11th, 2014, we cover some of the questions about the resolution process in the Basque Country.

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Concern about the political prisoners with serious illnesses

preso gaixoak

Eleven Basque political prisoners: Ibon Iparragirre, Inma Berriozabal, Josemi Etxeandia, Txus Martín, Aitzol Gogorza, Ibon Fernández Iragi, Gari Arruarte, José Ramón López de Abetxuko, Ventura Tomé, Iñaki Etxabarria y Josetxo Arizkuren, find themselves seriously ill. The health of various of them has worsened in the past weeks. Citizens from different sectors of Basque society have expressed their concern for this situation.

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Basquepeaceprocess bulletin, April 2014


The prisoners and exiles continue to be one of the main subjects on the agenda of the resolution of the conflict. Dealing with the consequences of the conflict implies that the situation of the prisoners and exiles be resolved.

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Peace Process, A Shared Responsibility

joseba azkarraga

Opinion piece by Joseba Azkarraga, former Minister of Justice in the Basque government and member of KonpONbidea initiative. Published in different Basque newspapers on 7 April 2014. In it he calls for reflection and debate to advance in the peace process.

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Ibon Fernadez Iradi: “The status of ‘special prisoners’ makes medical attention difficult”

Ibon Fernandez Iradi

Interview with Ibon Fernandez Iradi, Basque political prisoner in the prison of Lannemezan (French state) with a serious illness. Original Interview published in GARA basque newspaper on 18th February 2014

His illness was diagnosed in 2013, three years after noticing the first symptoms. Now, with the pertinent medical reports, he has asked for his release due to “incompatibility with his condition with being held in prison”. He hopes that the judge of the Assessment Board makes a statement in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, he continues his treatment as best as he can in the prison of Lannemezan, where in December a march took place in solidarity that brought him “a breath of fresh air”.

How is your health?

They diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis and, therefore, I suffer the consequences of this illness. I won’t deny that having this illness in prison is really difficult, since that here there aren’t any conditions to adequately treat this illness. It isn’t easy for me or for those close to me and all of that creates a great uneasiness. Since the first symptoms appeared in January of 2011 I’ve had three strong crises. What’s more, in my case, the beginning of the illness was very aggressive and twice I had to be temporarily in a wheelchair.

Currently, due to the different crises, I have different symptoms. For example, a lot of pain on the left side of my body, and the sensibility in my legs and part of my face isn’t complete, I have tingling sensations…To this are added other symptoms such as ringing (constant buzzing) that doesn’t let me sleep well, internal tremors in my body… In general I usually have a lot of physical fatigue, all day I am very, very tired without hardly doing anything. Obviously all of this provokes a great psychological fatigue and enormous stress.

What attention do you receive in prison? What treatment do you follow?

As I mentioned before, in prison there aren’t conditions to carry out adequate treatment. The patients who suffer the same illness as me are usually examined by the neurologist every six months. Given my situation, it’s been more than a year since I have had the occasion to meet with him. Also, due to the difficulties that come with being imprisoned, the last time that I could consult with him was by videoconference, that is, he couldn’t examine me directly and they have told me that the next time will also be by videoconference.

In my case, multiple sclerosis affects the digestive apparatus (the strong crises were produced after getting gastroenteritis) and its evident that the food in prison isn’t the most appropriate. The prison is usually an important focus point for infections and that’s how they declared my illness, that is a gastroenteritis that a majority of the prisoners got was the detonator. Adequately treating this illness means that you are attended frequently by specialists or that you follow a constant programme of rehabilitation… All of this is impossible in the prison universe.

Regarding medications, I follow the habitual treatment for multiple sclerosis (Interferon). I had to have started the treatment right away but since being in prison makes everything more complicated and more difficult, I couldn’t do it until six months later. In any case, you have to take into account that this is an incurable illness and that, therefore, its effect is limited.

In what phase is your petition for release?

The demand for the suspension of the sentence and, therefore, to be able to be released was made in March of last year. The process is lengthening. The second step is the the exam by two different experts to see if my state of health is compatible with remaining a prisoner. This phase is already done and both reports coincide in that it is not compatible. Now the decision about my release is in the hands of the judge. I think he could make it by the end of February or in March.

How would you define the attitude of the French government towards ill prisoners?

Until now, at least, their attitude hasn’t helped me at all, it’s actually made things more difficult. The penitentiary Administration labels us as “specially watched prisoners” which is given by the DPS. The act of cataloguing us this way is a political decision. By imposing this status on us, when they have to take us out for a medical consultation or to a hospital they apply measures of extreme security. It’s something unprecedented, because when they bring you to a doctor on the outside, we usually go surrounded by police and civil servants armed to the teeth and with our hands and feet tied. In these conditions, most of the time you are hoping for the consultation to end as soon as possible. It’s for that reason that I, for example, instead of taking me out of prison they have given me the consultations by videoconference.

The DPS status imposed by the government impedes that consultations are carried out in dignified conditions and sometimes it even impedes the doctor from seeing you face to face. This is a consequence of the decision of government policy.

Free Otegi – Free Them All

Website of the International Declaration to free Arnaldo Otegi & to bring Basque political prisoners home:

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