Tuesday, March 30, 2004

This Is The Real Garzon

Did you read about a "judge" who got a Nobel nomination because he "dared" to open a motion to bring Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet before a court of law?

Well, the article you are about to read was published at Berria and it describes the case of Ainara Gorostiaga who spent two years in jail for a crime she never committed. Worst of all the fact that three other men accused of the same crime had been acquitted previously for lack of evidence to support their consignation. The reason why Ainara was kept behind bars is because she confessed to the crime after having been tortured by members of the Guardia Civil.

So here comes Garzon who releases her after two years saying that her confession did not match the details of how the alleged crime was committed.

Is he going to start an investigation on all the human rights violations suffered by these four Basques? Nope, after all, he is an important piece in the repressive machinery built by Spain.

After two years in prison Ainara Gorostiaga is released by Garzon

The judge says there is no evidence supporting the charge that she took part in the assassination of Mujika

Irene Arrizurieta - IRUÑEA (Pamplona)

Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish National Criminal Court judge, decided yesterday to release Ainara Gorostiaga, the Iruñea-born prisoner. Gorostiaga was due to leave Soto del Real prison (near Madrid) the same evening. Garzon had charged Gorostiaga with involvement in the assassination of Jose Javier Mujika, the UPN town councillor of Leitza (Navarre), but now Andoni Otegi and Oscar Zelarain, who are currently in prison in France, have been charged with the assassination.

According to a French police report, papers seized from Ibon Fernandez-Iradi indicate that Otegi and Zelarain had carried out the assassination. Garzon released Gorostiaga and withdrew the charge from Jorge Txokarro, Mikel Soto and Aurken Sola on the basis of these papers. French police say the papers tell how the assassination of Mujika was carried out and their conclusion was that Otegi had written it, after a handwriting analysis had been carried out. News agencies said yesterday that Garzon had received the document on 15th through a rogatory letter. After examining it, he decided to prosecute Otegi and Zelarain and asked for their extradition.

So the charges were withdrawn and Ainara Gorostiaga was set free; she had been arrested on February 24, 2002 on the orders of Judge Guillermo Ruiz Polanco. She had been kept in incommunicado detention from the moment she was arrested until March 5, 2002, and when this was lifted she denounced tortures.

Apart from Gorostiaga another three people believed to have been linked to the assassination of the UPN councillor were also arrested: Jorge Txokarro, Mikel Soto and Aurken Sola. The four of them had been prosecuted for membership of the alleged ETA cell /Urbasa /. Txokarro, Soto and Sola spent two years behind bars and were released last month by Judge Guillermo Ruiz-Polanco, after they had posted bail.

The three of them testified before Garzon on March 3 in connection with the Mujika assassination and were released after it was decided that there was insufficient evidence against them. Gorostiaga, however, was ordered to remain in prison. In fact, according to the judge, she had admitted in front of the Spanish Civil Guard that she had taken part in the killing and that the other three had been involved, too. Gorostiaga said the statement had been extracted under torture. In connection with her complaint Garzon said in yesterday's writ that the statement had been taken in accordance with Criminal Prosecution Legislation. He nevertheless admitted that the information in that statement did not concur with "the objective information relating to Otegi and Zelarain" that had emerged.

Please, take not that the three men had to post bail even after the judge had determined that there was no sufficient evidence to sustain a guilty verdict. This is why I insist that those amounts of money should be called ransom instead of bail.

Garzon is guilty of depriving these individuals of two years of their lives, guilty of imprisoning innocent people over confessions extracted through torture, guilty of being behind shady police investigations that net innocent people. But no one is going to do anything about it, he is after all, a Nobel nominate.

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