When migrants are drifting at risk on the sea near Gibraltar, they know who to call: Helena Maleno's number is always available, and she puts the Spanish Sea Rescue Service in the picture as quickly as possible.
Those calls have saved hundreds of people over recent years, but now it's Maleno herself who is at risk: she has been summoned to declare in court at Tangier, Morocco, as part of an international investigation into human trafficking. After several delays, she is to declare on the 10th of January.
On the 27th of December many people came together in Iruñea, Navarre, to express their solidarity with Maleno, having been called together by several anti-racist groups. As the organizers explained, the persecution she is being subjected to is not an isolated event: "They're trying to turn solidarity into a crime".
This has not been the only initiative taken in recent weeks. Hundreds of well-known people and thousands of people involved in Spain have signed a manifesto in her support. In the Basque Country, the person commissioned to defend citizens' rights, the Ararteko, has got in touch with his Moroccan counterpart "to express the interest which many Basque groups have in the work which Maleno is carrying out on the southern border".
Who is Helena Maleno?
Helena Maleno (El Ejido, Almeria, 1970) is a member of the Caminando Fronteras ('Walking Frontiers') groups, a journalist and an activist. The group has carried out considerable work over recent years, having direct contact with migrants on the frontier between Spain and Morocco and giving them assistance. In that way, they have won the trust of people fleeing from their own countries, and who then get in touch with them when they run into difficulties crossing the sea.
“I've gone to sleep and woken up to those calls for help for 16 of my 20 years, and it may become a crime now”, said her son in a letter to the media. The Moroccan justice department accuses Maleno of promoting hidden immigration.
The journalist explains, though, that the investigation actually began in Spain in 2012, but the only evidence they have is those calls to the Sea Rescue Service. Maleno has received threats because of her work in the past. She was send many threats and messages because of denouncing the Spanish police's aggression at the Tarajal frontier.
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 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.
Sustrai Erakuntza foundation has presented a proposal for the improvement of railway system resources as an alternative of the High-Speed Train (HST) –Abiadura Handiko Trena in Basque (AHT)– that is planned to be implanted in Navarre (Basque Country).
On October 2nd a worker on the High-Speed Train works died in Zizurkil (Gipuzkoa). It is the second death in these works in just a few days and the ninth in recent years. According to the main Basque trades union the reason of the large amount of deaths is poor working conditions.
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”.
On Sunday the Basque police stopped and attacked a multitudinous peaceful march against the incineration plant which is being built in San Sebastian, Basque Country.
Atxuri train station in Bilbao (Basque Country) will stop receiving trains in 2019. Local people have reflected on the new uses for the space in a participative process initiated by the Lokomotorak (Locomotive) project.
Since 2005 Zabalgarbi incineration plant located In Bilbao, has dumped 600,000 tons of waste material –polluting substances that are left after burning residue materials– at various sites in Biscay without taking proper control measures, Zero Zabor Bizkaian (Zero Waste in Biscay) platform has reported.
During the festivities on 8th September people in favour of the discriminatory Alarde parade cruelly persecuted the women and men taking part in the equal rights group.