Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Iñaki's Saga

We received this information thanks to our friends at Behatokia:

Iñaki de Juana, a continuum of rights violations

In the previous report, we referred to the various manoeuvres carried out in order to prevent Basque political prisoner Iñaki de Juana’s release. His situation led him to go on a hunger strike for 63 days. On October 26, the trial against him took place in the /Audiencia Nacional/, a special Court in Madrid. The Basque prisoner was facing a Prosecution request of 96 years in jail for a crime of “threats” and another of “membership of an armed organisation” because of two articles he sent to the Basque daily, Gara. During the trial, the State Prosecutor considered he had already served his sentence for “membership” so he dropped this charge and reduced his request to four years in jail for “glorifying terrorism” or, alternatively, a crime of “threats” for which the tribunal could sentence him to 13 years.

The defence counsel requested De Juana be acquitted because “the charges have not been proven at this trial”, adding that what is being used against the Donostia-born prisoner is a “criminal law for the enemy”, whereby “what is put on trial are not events, but the person”. During the trial, Iñaki de Juana explained that the content of the articles was “purely political critique” and their aim was “to denounce and inform the public about the injustice” suffered by Basque political prisoners. After stating that he could not see where anyone could find any threats in the contents of his articles, he appealed to his right to exercise freedom of speech.

Days later, the court decision was published; it sentenced Iñaki de Juana to 12 years and 7 months in prison (as well as some other additional penalties) for a crime of “issuing terrorist threats”. This crime requires, amongst other things, a serious, real, specific threat, based on the will of the issuer, etc. aimed at subverting the constitutional order or seriously breaching the peace. None of these aspects can be found in the texts. Therefore, it can be seen how in Spain, as in Guantanamo, there are situations which take us back to the time of the inquisition and which show what the criminal law for the enemy is, tailor-made, and based on hatred and revenge.

In this situation of absolute injustice, on November 7 Iñaki de Juana began another hunger strike, which is adding to the 63 day strike he had ended only a few weeks earlier, after having lost 24 kilos (3st, 5lb).

At the beginning of his protest, De Juana asked the management of Aranjuez Prison to “be held in isolation and receive no visits”. The same source stated that this request was aimed at “preventing speculation about his breaching his fast” as certain Spanish media had done during his previous strike.

Shortly later, the Spanish Penitentiary Institutions asked the /Audiencia Nacional /for permission to control the state of the Basque prisoner. An /Audiencia Nacional/ decision allows medical tests to be carried out on Iñaki de Juana, including his admission to hospital, against his will, as well as “any internal control measures believed necessary”. In their decision, magistrates Manuela Fernández, Paloma Pastor y Ricardo Rodríguez acknowledge that with these measures they are limiting De Juana’s fundamental rights. On Friday, November 24, Iñaki de Juana was admitted to the Doce de Octubre hospital, after several tests carried out, again, against his will.

When De Juana began this hunger strike, he weighed 70 kilos (11 stone) and during these first 20 days he has lost between eight and nine kilos (17-20lb).

This is the last resort left to the Basque prisoner in order to protest against the evident persecution orchestrated against him, to denounce the frantic fabrication of charges to prevent his release by all means and, at the end of the day, to demand his right to be released. At this time, Iñaki needs solidarity. We must veil for his physical integrity and demand his immediate release.

.... ... .

No comments:

Post a Comment