GIVE PEACE A CHANCE IN THE BASQUE COUNTRY: JUSTICE AND FREEDOM FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS
CAMPACC SUPPORTED BY HALDANE SOCIETY OF SOCIALIST LAWYERS AND EUROPEAN LAWYERS FOR DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS (ELDH)
Tuesday 16 April 2013, 6.30pm
At Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A
(closest tube Holborn)
Chaired by Professor Bill Bowring,
President of the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH); International Secretary, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Iratxe Urizar, lawyer, member of the Basque Observatory of Human Rights;
Asier Aranguren, former political prisoner and spokesperson of the Collective of Basque Political Prisoners;
Gorka Elejabarrieta, representative of the Sortu International Department and former representative of the Abertzale Left in the European Parliament;
Alistair Lyons, solicitor, Birnberg Peirce Solicitors.
Plus video from the Collective of Basque Political Prisoners
Eighteen months since ETA announced a ceasefire, the issue of Basque political prisoners has become central to the development of a peace process. This event will bring together lawyers, political representatives and activists to discuss this important issue and ways we can support the struggle for peace and justice for the Basque community.
On 20 March 2013, a Basque political prisoner named Xabier López Peña died in a Parisian hospital. Having suffered with heart disease for four years whilst incarcerated in the French prison of Fleury, and having received little to no treatment for his condition in prison, his death is a stark reminder of the violence and inhumanity of French and Spanish penitentiary policy towards Basque political prisoners.
Over 600 Basque political prisoners – a startling number for any nation, not least one with a population of under 3 million – remain isolated in prisons across Europe. Most are in Spain and France, six are in the UK, and almost all are being held outside the Basque Country thanks to Spain’s policy of dispersal. Prisoners suffer from acute isolation, their family members having to make an average round trip of 1300km just to visit them. Several of them are seriously ill. Harassment, the use of solitary confinement, and medical neglect are systematic and widespread. Policies like the Parot Doctrine, which was introduced to restrict ETA prisoners’ entitlement to early release and has led to de facto lifetime imprisonment in a country where the maximum prison sentence is limited to thirty years, continue to be enforced, despite a Strasbourg ruling that found it to be illegal.
Through this prison policy, violations of fundamental rights have become systematic and the persecution of the Basque political movement continues unabated despite this historic opportunity for a resolution. Basque parties remain united in their call for all Basque prisoners to be released, knowing that the political conflict cannot end while even one prisoner remains behind bars.
For information contact:
CAMPACC (Campaign Against Criminalising Communities) www.campacc.org.uk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 7586 5892
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers www.haldane.org E-mail: email@example.com
European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) www.eldh.eu