Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Egunkaria, A Year Later

A year ago, shortly after I came back from celebrating the anniversary of the Eusko Etxea in San Francisco I woke up to terrible news, the Fascist regime in Madrid had closed down Egunkaria, the only newspaper in Euskal Herria that was published entirely in Euskara. And while Spain plunges into the darkness of totalitarism the Basque spirit soars thanks to our commitment to freedom and democracy, read this note at Berria English:

Once upon a time…

After a year-long investigation the only thing Judge Del Olmo has come up with is that there was no basis for closing down ‘Egunkaria’

Imanol Murua Uria – DONOSTIA (San Sebastian)
This coming Friday it will be a year since Euskaldunon Egunkaria was closed down and over two years and eight months have gone by since the investigations began, but Judge Juan Del Olmo of the Spanish National Criminal Court has still failed to demonstrate that there is any basis for upholding the accusations against Egunkaria.

The judge maintains that Egunkaria was one of ETA’s tools and that he has sufficient data to support this. But in the numerous writs that Juan Del Olmo has issued so far, no evidence has emerged that could link the Basque-language newspaper with ETA, apart from some references to Egunkaria that appear in the documents alleged to have been seized from ETA members in the early 1990s, references made by KAS or ETA members, but not by anyone of Egunkaria. Moreover, the judge has only put forward arguments like suspicions concerning Egunkaria’s sources of funding and the fact that the publishing of a newspaper in Basque coincides with one of ETA’s aims. The judge and the Central Office of the Spanish Civil Guard’s Information Services –the real brain behind the investigation– have translated and examined thousands of documents seized on the Egunkaria premises, and numerous phone conversations. They have also interrogated 19 people, with torture being used on some of them, but the Judge has not found anything to support the accusations.

Del Olmo has accused a total of nineteen people in the two sets of preliminary enquiries relating to the closing down of Egunkaria, but as yet not one of the nineteen knows what specific crimes he or she is being charged with individually.

Ten of the people arrested on February 20 have accusations against them in the preliminary enquiries relating to the closing-down of Egunkaria. In addition to these ten, the nine people detained in the police operation in October against the Martin Ugalde Kultur Parkea in the wake of the investigations into financial crimes relating to the Egunkaria network of companies also stand accused.

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