[Ppnews] Basque Hunger Strike

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Mar 15 18:18:52 EST 2005



Hunger strike and information weekend on behalf of Iñigo Makazaga and other 
Basque prisoners

Friday 18th – Sunday 20th March
London


Please help us to publicise this protest and highlight these cases!!!
basquecampaign at yahoo.co.uk

 From Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March, Basques living in the UK have 
planned a protest to highlight the lack of justice for prisoners and for 
their country, and in solidarity with the only Basque held in a British 
prison, Iñigo Makazaga (HMP Belmarsh). The protesters will be doing a 
hunger strike in solidarity with Basque prisoners who are currently on 
their sixth protest. The weekend will also include talks on prisoners’ 
resistance, Iñigo’s case, repression in the Basque Country and other 
relevant issues.

The fact that this conference and protest are taking place on the same 
weekend of a national demo against the occupation of Iraq and when the use 
of illegal imprisonment and torture have gained momentum is not a 
coincidence. The imprisonment of Iñigo Makazaga is just one of the many 
which occur in the Basque Country since the toughening of repression after 
September 11. Iñigo is one of thousands of people imprisoned under the new 
anti-terrorist laws, applied to suspects and activists who have not been 
involved in ‘terrorist’ activities. The laws have had a major impact in 
Britain and all over the world - in the Basque Country those new measures 
have been used against Basques involved with the nationalist movement and 
who were not involved in illegal activity. More than 250 people have been 
detained and imprisoned in this way, held from between five days to three 
years without trial and even tortured. This injustice is happening because 
of the Spanish support of the allies on the ‘War on Terror’, and the 
invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. This is the Spanish version of Abu 
Grahib, Guantamo and Belmarsh against Basques.

At the same time, Basque political prisoners in Spanish and French prisons 
come to more than 600 (six hundred). The physical conditions of these 
people are seriously deteriorating due to dispersion, beatings, reduction 
of hours outside the cell, restrictions on visits and increased isolation. 
In the last few months Basque prisoners have held a series of protests in 
prisons. These protests have happened in several prisons at once. The 
latest one was their sixth. The protests include lock-ups and hunger 
strike, and so London’s Basque Campaign has decided to use the same method, 
to show solidarity with them. In previous protest 126 prisoners locked 
themselves up across 13 prisons. Iñigo Makazaga will be joining the Basque 
prisoners’ protest in his London cell too.




Program


Friday  18th March


Press Conference

17:30 Meeting at Houses of Parliament

18:00 Press Conference at Conway Hall

- Gareth Peirce (Iñigo Makazaga’s lawyer)

- Lander Larunbe (Basque Movement for Amnesty) on the situation of the
Basque Political Prisoners' Collective

- Ainhoa Facal (Iñigo Makazaga’s partner)


Beginning of the Hunger strike and information weekend

7:30 PM at Rampart Centre

9:00 PM Open video show



Saturday 19th March

Talk

11.00 AM at Rampart Centre.

- Basque Campaign member as facilitator

- member of Euskalinfo (Bristol) talking on legal repression in the
Basque Country - the 18/98 Summary

Protesters can take part in the Korrika, the Basque language
promotion race linking all villages in the Basque Country (organized by
London Euskaletxea. Korrika is not part of the weekend’s protest)

Sunday 20th March

Talk

6.00 pm at Rampart Centre.

- Basque Campaign member as facilitator

- Rosa Castillo (Iñigo Makazaga’s mother)

Dinner and end of the protest weekend

7.00 pm at Rampart Centre.



While the dates for this protest coincide with the national demo against 
the occupation of Iraq, it had to coincide with the prison visit by Iñigo 
Makazaga’s mother and her partner. This does not happen very often as she 
has to travel all the way from the Basque Country, and consequently the 
Basque Campaign believe that it will be very positive to do something when 
she is here to show support, and also so she can give a first-hand account 
of Makazaga’s case.

Makazaga’s lawyer Gareth Peirce will take part in the talk too.

Gareth Peirce is held in high esteem for her defence of many victims of the 
British system, such as the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and 
currently, the Guantanamo detainees.

The weekend will also include another talk by the solicitor of the 
illegalised Basque separatist party, Batasuna, and a member of Euskalinfo 
(Bristol) (<http://www.euskalinfo.org.uk/>www.euskalinfo.org.uk) on legal 
repression against Basques. Both issues are repression measures targeting 
the Basque movement and violating democratic rights - freedom of 
_expression, freedom of association, right of election, right of assembly 
and even more fundamental ones - unlawful detention and imprisonment, and 
torture.

The case of Iñigo Makazaga

Iñigo Makazaga (26) is a Basque imprisoned in Belmarsh prison (London), in 
Category A, special security status. Makazaga was an active member of the 
Basque student movement, as well as a member of the pro-independence Basque 
coalition Herri Batasuna's local committee in his neighbourhood of 
Vitoria-Gasteiz. He was an active and committed member of the community, 
involved in political and social activities carried out in the open, within 
the public domain. In February 1996 Iñigo was falsely accused of taking 
part in specified acts of public disorder, and after a huge media and 
police campaign he was accused of acts of sabotage. Iñigo was arrested and 
suffered considerable mistreatment. Iñigo explained his mistreatment like 
this: "[the police] threatened to split my head open if I didn't state what 
they wanted me to, all the while they punched me in the shoulders, in the 
chest, the ears and pulled my hair and threw me against the wall and to the 
floor."

Due to such terrorising experience, Iñigo decided to leave the Basque 
Country to restart his life. He chose the UK. In order to avoid more hassle 
from the police he decided to hide his identity. However, Iñigo was 
arrested in Dover on 24 April 2001 and faced a claim for extradition from 
the Spanish Council of Ministers because of alleged membership of an armed 
organisation – once again he’s accused of belonging to ETA only because of 
his political believes and activities.

The Spanish media were back on the attack, condemning Iñigo and violating 
his right of presumed innocence. It is clear that the case of Iñigo 
Makazaga is - as happens so frequently in the Basque Country – merely a 
case of political convenience. Again, Iñigo is just one of the thousands of 
Basques who have to seek refuge in different parts of the world as a 
consequence of repression against their political beliefs and activities.


It’s now three years since Iñigo was arrested and still there are no 
charges against him. Meanwhile he’s been held in isolation and miles away 
from his family and his country. If he’s sent back to the Spanish state he 
is at serious risk of further persecution and torture (torture against 
Basques in Spain is reported yearly by AI).

We demand the release of Iñigo from prison right now!!!


Iñigo Makazaga FF7630
HMP Belmarsh, Western Way,
Thamesmead
London SE28 0EB


Gareth Peirce

Representing former Guantanamo Bay detainees is just the latest in a series 
of high-profile cases championed by the civil rights solicitor, Gareth Peirce.

In a career of more than 30 years, she has appeared for, among others, the 
Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and the families of the victims of the 
Marchioness river boat disaster.

Her face, and her many past glories, are known in courtrooms throughout the 
land. When Gareth Peirce takes a case, journalists and lawyers' ears prick up.

The scourge of much of the legal establishment, Peirce's passionate 
advocacy and attention to detail have brought spectacular results. She is 
an unreconstructed, old-fashioned, radical lawyer.


The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
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