Seven young Basques illegally sent to prison

  • They were arrested in 2015 after being accused by the Ertzaintza (Basque police) of being members of pro-independence organization Segi. The Spanish Constitutional Court has now declared the order for arrest and imprisonment invalid and “against the law and rights”.

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2018ko urriaren 01a
The “Human Wall” in Vitoria-Gasteiz on the 18th of May, 2015. Events such as this have often taken place in the Basque Country, in order to avoid the arrestof young people sentenced in political trials, using passive resistance and disobedience.

The Vitoria-Gasteiz police charge on 18 may 2015, which lasted several hours and injured a dozen people no longer has legal support. In the“human wall” –a hundred people showed passive resistance to protect the people who had been condemned– Aiala Zaldibar, Igarki Robles and Ibon Esteban were arrested. Some days before the police had arrested Xabat Moran, Marina Sagastizabal, Bergoi Madernaz and Ainhoa Villaverde. In 2014 the Spanish National High Court judged the seven and they were sentenced to six years of imprisonment for being members of an “armed group”.

But a higher court declared the decision invalid, as the Spanish Constitutional Court has stated, because legal proceedings had not been respected, the defence having had no opportunity to present its allegations. In fact, the defence made an appeal, but the National High Court –with judge Angela Murillo in charge– illegally ordered the arrest of the seven young people. And the Basque police carried that order out.

As reported in ARGIA magazine, this is not the first time that the Basque police has asked judge Angela Murillo for permission to arrest people condemned in order to avoid the resistance that they have come up against in other “human walls”. So, without wasting time or gong through any legal procedures, the police arrested these people.

As the defence of the accused explained to radio station Hala Bedi, the judges did know that the prison sentence against the young people had “no legal basis” and that “maybe that was the reason why they decided to overlook their rights and warranties.”

In fact, a few months after they were arrested five of seven were acquitted and Villaverde and Esteban’s sentence was reduced to two years. The defence attorneys have said they are considering the possibility of making a complaint to the Spanish State for the harm caused by the judges’ actions. “We do know, however, that the damage cannotbe repaired,” they added. The seven young spent almost a year in prison, and another year and a half before hand in provisional imprisonment.

 

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

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