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Basque Info News December 5

Askapena & Irish Basque Committees | 06.12.2007 11:53 | Repression | World

-The Spanish Court orders the arrests of 46 defendants on 18/98, show trial.
-Thousands of people demonstrate against this mass of arrests in Bilbao.
-One Spanish civil guard has been killed and another one seriously injured in a shooting in France. ETA has been accused of the murder.

Demostration in Bilbao
Demostration in Bilbao

Basque Info 05/12/2007
-The Spanish Court orders the arrests of 46 defendants on 18/98, show trial.
-Thousands of people demonstrate against this mass of arrests in Bilbao.
-One Spanish civil guard has been killed and another one seriously injured in a shooting in France. ETA has been accused of the murder.
On Friday, the Spanish National Court ordered the arrest of 46 defendants of the case known as the 18/98, show trial.
39 people have been arrested so far. They are accused of being related to the 18/98 show trial. Today the arrested appeared in from of the judge in Madrid.
In 1998 the Spanish conservative party PP, opened a case against the Basque Pro-independence movement. And nearly 10 years later, the Spanish labour party which is in government currently is closing the case.
This trial was the largest ever made in terms of the number of defendants. 52 citizens are involved in the case and so far 46 orders of imprisonment have been given. The judges heard testimonies of more than 300 people. Those on trial included alleged members of Basque social and political groups, media and other organizations. The Spanish National Court banned their activities citing they were supporters of the Basque armed group ETA.
This case has affected the lives of hundreds of Basques citizens. It has closed down many companies, a newspaper and a radio and has outlawed many organizations. It has been an attack of the civil and political rights of Basque people.
The sentence on this case is not going to be heard until the 10th of December. The court has ordered the police to arrest the accused before the convictions are announced. It is expected that most of the condemnation will be higher than what the prosecution has requested, 5, 10 and 15 years in many cases. A total amount of 527 years of prison is what is expected to be given by the judges to the 52 Basque citizens involved in the case.

Batasuna describes these arrests, and the sentences imposed on the defendants of the 18/98 show trial as very serious. This undemocratic action of the Spanish state has the only aim of repressing and attacking the Basque pro-independence movement and all the social sectors that work in favor of the recognition of the Basque Country as a nation.
These attacks are part of a global strategy of the Spanish State to neutralize the proposal of a democratic framework for the Basque Country. This proposal has been presented by the Basque pro-independence movement. A proposal that enables a democratic change for the Basque Country and that overcomes the political conflict. The Spanish government with the help of the Basque Nationalist Party, is determined to prevent the opening of a democratic resolution. They are using all the repressive means to avoid the possibility of a real change.
Against these facts, Batasuna calls on people to respond in the strongest way to this repressive attack and antidemocratic action, and to continue working for the creation of a democratic framework.

25,000 protesters marched and held a rally in the city of Bilbao on Sunday to protest against the detention of Basque citizens who were out on bail for the 18/98 show trial.
Tens of thousands of protesters marched carrying placards which said "In favor of the Basque Country's democratic rights."
Attendants to the rally included senior members of the outlawed party Batasuna such as Jone Goizelaia, Pernando Barrena or Karmelo Landa; the general secretary of the Basque Trade union LAB, Rafa Díez.
During the rally messages of solidarity were sent to all the detainees. Once again, the speakers made it clear that the pro independence movement will not let the Spanish government away with their criminalization campaign. They said, that this did not work 30 years ago, during Franco’s dictatorship and it will not work this time around either. They also called on people to keep fighting as the future of Basque citizens is in their own hands.

The 39 people arrested so far, have been transferred to a jail in Madrid. However, the lawyer for the case has announced that the prison authorities have already started to implement their dispersal policy. Some of the arrested have been taken out of the Madrid prison to be transferred to other jails. No-one knows at the minute where they are.
- A Spanish policeman was killed and another injured in a shooting in France last Saturday.
The shooting happended in the small French resort of Capbreto, at 12 miles from the Basque Country.
The two victims were found in an unmarked French car in a supermarket car park. Suspected members of ETA shot and killed a Spanish policeman and seriously wounded another in France on Saturday.
The wounded officer was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.
The two plain-clothed Guardia Civil policemen had been taking part in a surveillance operation with the French police.
According to the Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, the policemen and ETA suspects were in the same cafeteria by coincidence.
After recognising each other, the two policemen left the bar.
In Rubalcaba’s words, the suspects followed them outside, where witnesses said they heard people shouting as well as gun shots.
French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told in a joint news conference with Rubalcaba that ETA had shot at police in France before, but the latest incident was "quite exceptional".
Alliot-Marie said police were still hunting two men and a woman.
Last Tuesday the French police arrested two people in two villages in the province of Behe Nafarroa. They arrested Josune Arriaga at the request of the Spanish courts who accuse her of being a member of ETA. She has been transferred to a French prison in Pau. She is waiting to be put in the hands of the Spanish police.
Jerome Sanchez, was also arrested by the French police as part of the police operation that has been taking place in the last 2 months in Lapurdi and Behe Nafarroa. Jerome was released the next day.
Unai Lamariano was also released after paying 10,000 euro bail. He was arrested in Donostia San Sebastian by the Spanish police last April.

-2,000 people gathered in Irunea/Pamplona to denounce the lack of democracy in the Basque Country. This demonstration came the day before the official celebration of the Navarre Day organised by the local conservative government.

The slogan chosen for the demonstration was “With this Statute of Autonomy, zero democracy”. At the end of the rally the speakers said that this Statute does not bring anything but partition and imposition for the last 25 years.

The statute was never presented in a referendum. It also left the province of Navarre separated from the rest of the Basque provinces making this territory a strong hold for the pro-Spanish conservatives.

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  1. so then — emigre