Juan José Ibarretxe, President of the Basque Autonomous Community, opened his office to Martxelo Otamendi and his colleagues accused by Madrid of abetting terrorism for publishing a news paper in Euskara.
That is the way the Iguana chews in Spain, if you read books in Euskara, you support terrorism.
Almost two years ago the Spanish Government closed down Egunkaria, the only news paper published entirely in Euskara, accusing the director and a number of the top executives and reporters to be part of ETA, the armed group. For more information about this visit Ingeleraz February 2003 and March 2003.
The Guardia Civil seized files, computers, documents and such. Almost two years later the Spanish justice has been unable to present solid evidence of the charges to the public, it doesn't really matter, when it comes to the Basques the Spanish justice drags its feet.
In the mean time, the accused have experienced mistreatment and torture, they have paid enormous amounts of money in the form of bails, they are prevented from traveling outside Spain due to the nature of the accusations against them and they have to present themselves again and again to the authorities to be monitored.
There is no assumption of innocence when it comes to the Basques, if you happen to love your land and defend your culture and language, and you are accused of terrorism as a result, then you are guilty until proven innocent.
Here is a note that appeared today at Berria English:
The President of the Basque Autonomous Community Government met with Joan Mari Torrealdai, Txema Auzmendi, Martxelo Otamendi, Pello Zubiria, Iñaki Uria and Xabier Oleaga; Azkarate called for the presumption of innocence to be respected
Edurne Begiristain – GASTEIZ (Vitoria)The people charged have been summonsed to appear before the Spanish National Criminal Court on December 3 to have their charges read out to them; this was why the Lehendakari was keen to express his support and solidarity with them yesterday. Joan Mari Torrealdai referred to this during a press briefing given after the meeting. On behalf of the indictees he “sincerely” thanked Ibarretxe for meeting with them at his headquarters and for listening to their concerns. “We are grateful to him for his warm reception, his approachability and for the support and solidarity he had shown towards us,” he explained.Torrealdai said they were “worried” about the Egunkaria case for two reasons. Firstly, if the verdict confirms what the indictment is aiming to achieve, they could face between 8 and 14 years in prison. Secondly, they were worried because they had no “confidence” in the Spanish National Criminal Court: “We do not have any confidence in the way the Court conducts justice in connection with the Basque question,” he stressed. However, the Chairman of the Board of Egunkaria S.A. stressed that they had no faith in the Madrid court, whereas they did believe in the institutions and the people of the Basque Country. For this reason he appealed to the institutions and the people to express their “support, help and backing” towards those facing charges. So he called on people to join the rallies that are going to be held at the Martin Ugalde Kultur Parkea in Andoain (Gipuzkoa) on the day they have to appear in court in Madrid.
Note: Berria is the newspaper that was created after the closure of Egunkaria, it is now the only news paper in Euskara, gladly, the also publish an English version in the internet, if you want to read the same note in Euskara, go here.
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