"I wouldn't offer somebody who's been arrested a coffee", former Spanish Civil Guard Manuel Pastrana said ironically during an interview on Catalan TV3 station, making an open case for the use of torture.
Former Civil Guard (Spanish special armed forces) Manuel Pastrana appeared on TV3's Preguntes freqüents ('Frequent Questions') programme and talked about torturing people believed to be members of ETA.
"I wouldn't offer somebody who's been arrested a coffee. You have to get [the information] out of them any way you can", he answered when asked if the use of torture is usual. He also underlined that "Basques are very weak". "They sing as soon as you touch them", he said.
It is the first time that a former policeman admits torturing Basque activists.
"In Spain we're softer than some other countries", he stated. When the interviewer asked him if he regretted anything which he had done, he said that he did not: "I would do everything exactly the same way again."
Last december an official report concluded that more than 4,000 people were tortured in the Basque Country. The University of the Basque Country's Criminology Institute and the Basque Government published a report on cases of torture between 1960 and 2014. The report's directors –doctor in law Laura Pego and recognized court doctor Pako Etxeberria– provided the information: during those years they found evidence of 4,113 cases of torture in the Basque Country.
Of the 4,113 cases included in the report, in 1,792 instances the Spanish Police were the torturers, in 1,785 cases the Civil Guard, and in 336 cases the Basque Police (Ertzaintza). In fact, ErNE, the Basque police trade union, has severely criticised the contents of the report, saying that it is based "only on reports about torture" and does not take legal judgements into account. Etxeberria and Pego, on the other hand, have stated that the report is 95% believable, and that 202 of the reports of torture carried out by that police force pass the UN expert examination protocol requirements.
The report has been published after the European Court for Human Rights punished the Spanish State at least six times. Since 2010 the Strasbourg-based court has criticised Spain time and again for not examining cases of torture.
50 state employees have been punished since then for carrying out torture. The report deals with 30 sentences connected with the Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard. The Spanish Government has been pardoned in many of those cases.
Most of the people who reported torture were men, according to Etxeberria and Pego: 83% of cases. In around 5% of cases people who were tortured or mistreated also reported psychological damage and requested help to deal with it.
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!
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 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.
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.
On Monday Bilbao City Council (Bizkaia, Basque Country) opened what it has called "Zorrotzaurre Island". At the act local people expressed their disagreement with the project.