Altsasu: 79-year Prison Sentence for a Brawl with two Police Officers

  • "Damages, public disorder and threats" and "attacking authority" are the crimes which the Spanish National Court has charged eight young Basques with.

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(Photo: EkinKlik)

The judges decided against trying them for "terrorist crimes" because it was not clear that what happened had "terrorist objectives" or that the people who took part were connected with "terrorist organisations". They have charged them, however, with "major abuse and hatred", arguing that the events took place "for ideological reasons and out of hate for the Civil Guard" (the Spanish special armed forces).

The judges decided to sentence the maximum punishments for "damages, public disorder and threats". Oihan Arnanz and Iñaki Abadi have been sentenced for 13 years; Jokin Unamuno and Adur Ramírez de Alda for 12. Jon Ander Cob, Julen Goikoetxea and Aratz Urrizola have been given 9 year sentences, while Ainara Urkijo has been given 2 years.

A few days after the sentence the Civil Guard arrested Jon Ander Cob, Aratz Urrizola, Iñaki Abad and Julen Goikoetxea; the others have already spent a year and a half in prison. The same day as the arrests 9,000 people demonstrated against them. The young people's parents have asked people to "carry on filling the streets".

(Photo: Guaixe)

A Cause for Anger

As a result of a brawl between a group of locals from Altsasu (Navarre, Basque Country), two Civil Guards in civilian clothing and their sentimental partners in a bar in Altsasu at 5 am on 15th October, 2017, one of the agents had an injured ankle and seven young people were imprisoned. They were each in danger of facing between ten and fifteen years in prison.

The case caused great anger and the prisoners' relatives and friends have led a ceaseless campaign for justice. 20,000 people came together in Altsasu shortly after the arrests. After spending a year and a half going from town to town asking for support, on 14th April more than 50,000 people filled the centre of Iruñea behind the slogan "It isn't Terrorism; Give us Justice".

The case has been followed by many newspapers such as The Guardian, Al Jazeera and the New York Times.

This article was translated by 11itzulpen; you can see the original in Basque here.

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