Here you have another demand for the immediate liberation of Xarlo Etxezaharreta, abducted in Hegoalde by the Spanish secret service, this one from the International Basque Organization for Human Rights:
September 29, 2003
Basque Journalist snatched off the street
Sunday night in Abadiño finished off a day of festivals. XarloEtxezaharreta was escorting a visiting friend around the region and was about to drive his friend home. Suddenly, strange men surround all, and Xarlo was put into a car and driven away. No charges read, no explanations given. None are needed when the victim is Basque and the arrestor is the Spanish Guardia Civil. All the more frightening is that Xarlo is from Hazparne,the northern Basque region, and is a French citizen.
Xarlo's friends were stranded and frightened, not knowing at that time who these men were or why they took Xarlo. His family was contacted and was confused, having thought of no apparent reasons for his arrest.
Sixty two year old Xarlo Etxezaharreta is the editor of the Basque political magazine Kale Gorria. This magazine writes commentary on politicians and organizations in Spain and the Basque region. In its previous incarnation, Ardi Beltza, Spanish authorities accused the magazine of being part of the terrorist group ETA because its articles were critical of politicians and those in authority. The magazine’s editor at the time, Pepe Rei, was imprisoned and later released due to lack of evidence.
Xarlo is also a member of Udalbiltza, a political group that spanned all regions of the Basque country. Udalbiltza was an organization made up of politicians and others from hundreds of city and town councils of the Basque region within Spain and France. They regularly met and discussed ways of working together politically, to advance Basque cultural and political causes. Spanish authorities did not like Udalbiltza. Here was an organization of Basque politicians, spanningborders, working together legally to change their political landscape. In order to stop this, the authorities called Udalbiltza an "integration of ETA" They outlawed Udalbiltza, and asked the United States to add them to their list of terrorist organizations. The US, owing a favor to their Iraqi War allies, did just that.
It was because of Xarlo's participation in Udalbiltza that he was arrested and held incommunicado this past Sunday night. Xarlo now joins the ranks of the dozens of politicians and journalists currently being held for the same reason: that they dared to work in a legal manner to change their political reality in the Basque Country.International Basque Organization For Human Rights
PO Box 225 Corte Madera, CA 94976
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