The Strasbourg Human Rights Court has punished Spain for not giving Arnaldo Otegi a fair trial. As a result of the unfair trial the Basque Left leader spent six and a half years in a Spanish prison, as did a further four people on trial in the Bateragune (´Place for Coming Together') case.
Otegi has also been disqualified from public office for 10 years and, as a result, was unable to be the EH Bildu candidate in the 2016 Basque Parliament elections. And, if his punishment is not quashed after it has been appealed against, he will not be able to take part in the 2020 elections either.
This is a serious issue for Spain because, as a result of the trial which Strasbourg has condemned, five people had to spend six years in prison. So Spain should have to take some sort of measure to resolve that legally caused harm: the trial cannot be held again because the sentences have already been served, but Otegi's and Rafa Diez's prohibition from standing for public office should be quashed.
Furthermore, the trail made the Bateragune Five victims of the Spanish State. If citizens are punished for any harm they may cause, is there not even more reason for a State to be treated in the same way when it causes harm? How can you pay for the six years each of the five spent in prison?
But in the Bateragune trial the State did not only punish the five leaders; it also led to an ill-intentioned, biased interpretation of the work which the Basque Left was carrying out at the time in the peace process. The vast majority of Basque people know that the Bateragune Five and several other people were key to ETA giving up its arms, but the State had already decided that it was going to use all its power to prevent the peace process, and that strategy included the imprisonment of the five.
Other obstacles to the peace process included carrying on making arrests and criminalising Basque Left organisations, making conditions even harder for prisoners, all to try to prevent ETA from giving up its arms.
The State's violation of human rights cannot be resolved – the damage has been done – but, as ETA requested, it is time for the Spanish State to recognise its responsibility. Recognising the harm done to the Bateragune Five would be a small step towards clearing the atmosphere in the Basque Country, which is still coloured by so much suffering.
Informazio askea lantzen dugu ARGIAn, langileok gara proiektuaren jabeak eta gure informazioen atzean ez duzu sekula multinazionalik, bankurik edo alderdi politikorik topatuko. Gure ustez, burujabetza guztien oinarrian dago informazio burujabetza, ezagutzen dugunaren gainean pentsatzen eta erabakitzen dugu. Horregatik diogu kazetaritza independentea dela demokraziaren oinarrietako bat.
Aldizkaria paperean etxean edo e-postan PDFan jaso nahi duzu? Pozik hartuko zaitugu ARGIAko komunitatean. ARGIAkoa izateko, nahi eta ahal duzun ekarpena egin dezakezu, eta bueltan egoki ikusten duzuna eskatu. Indartu dezagun indartzen gaituena!
Over recent weeks a public building in Nabarreria Street in Iruñea (Navarre, Basque Country) has become identified with social struggle. Maravillas gaztetxe or youth centre –a self-managed Basque community centre– It has been closed several times by the Government of Navarre and reoccupied by citizens.
On Saturday around 85,000 people took part in the demonstrations in Bilbao (Bizkaia, Basque Country) and Baiona (Lapurdi, Basque Country). In defence of Basque prisoners' rights, they demanded the French and Spanish governments keep their word.
The workers at Huerta de Peralta in Azkoien, Navarre, are on indefinite strike since the 26th December in order to defend their rights and demand that the company reinstate the four workers it has sacked. They held a multitudinous demonstration in Iruñea on 7th January, and many citizens supported the workers.
This Basque Autonomous Community association has asked the authorities not to fumigate pine trees affected by harmful fungi using copper oxide because that would be harmful to public health and the environment.
ARGIA is the senior Basque publication, and it now has its 100th anniversary. Members of ARGIA, along with representatives from the Basque Government, have presented the acts which will be held to celebrate the anniversary. "A century is no ordinary anniversary, and our team has been preparing appropriate celebrations for a long time now", they explained.
The workers have decided to go on strike until they get acceptable working conditions and regular contracts, and a sector-wide agreement is reached.
Klika (‘Click’) is the slogan which has been chosen for this year's Korrika ('Run'), which is the 21st time it will be held. From April 4th to 14th it will go all around the Basque Country, starting at Gares and finishing at Gasteiz. The pro-Basque language run will pay tribute to Jose Luis "Txillardegi" Alvarez Enparantza for his contribution to Basque culture, activism and thought.
The event will take place on May 5th, and the intention is to show solidarity which is often hidden from view. A symbolic gesture will be used to that end: the embrace.
The trial on the murder of Iñigo Cabacas has started in Bilbao, atthe third Court of Bizkaia. Six Basque policemen will be judged for being in charge of giving orders or for having admitted firing rubber bullets on the day of the murder. Other Basque policemen also shot rubber bullerts, but their identity has just to be disclosed at the trial.
On 6th October thousands of people took to the streets of Gasteiz (Araba, Basque Country) for Okupatu Gasteiz Eguna (Gasteiz Squatters' Day). Their aim was to congratulate the city's squatter movements and self-managed projects and, in spite of the city council's censorship, proclaim that the streets belongs to everybody. The day started with a colourful demonstration, but that was followed by a festive spirit which lasted until the early hours of the next day.