[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
Friday 18th Sunday 20th March
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, Iñigos case, repression in the Basque Country and other
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 Londons 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.
Friday 18th March
17:30 Meeting at Houses of Parliament
18:00 Press Conference at Conway Hall
- Gareth Peirce (Iñigo Makazagas lawyer)
- Lander Larunbe (Basque Movement for Amnesty) on the situation of the
Basque Political Prisoners' Collective
- Ainhoa Facal (Iñigo Makazagas partner)
Beginning of the Hunger strike and information weekend
7:30 PM at Rampart Centre
9:00 PM Open video show
Saturday 19th March
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 weekends protest)
Sunday 20th March
6.00 pm at Rampart Centre.
- Basque Campaign member as facilitator
- Rosa Castillo (Iñigo Makazagas 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
Makazagas 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 Makazagas case.
Makazagas 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
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
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 hes 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.
Its now three years since Iñigo was arrested and still there are no
charges against him. Meanwhile hes been held in isolation and miles away
from his family and his country. If hes 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,
London SE28 0EB
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
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