[Ppnews] Basque Political Prisoner Iñaki de Juana, 47 days on hunger strike

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 25 08:28:34 EDT 2006

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Gara 22-09-2006

INTERVIEW: Iñaki de Juana, Basque political prisoner, in Algeciras Hospital
“Every measure they have taken is against my will”

-       “The medical vice-director of the prison told me he would not allow me
to be on hunger strike for more than 50 days”

Iñaki de Juana was admitted to Algeciras hospital on Tuesday and he is
being intravenously force-fed since Wednesday. GARA is publishing an
exclusive interview, dated September 14 in Algeciras jail, when the
Donostia-born prisoner had spent 38 days with no food. In the interview,
De Juana states that all the measures the medical teams have taken towards
him “and the measures yet to come” are against his will.

“I don’t think they will take much longer”. This was what Iñaki de Juana
said last week about the possibility of being force-fed “against my will
and by force”. In this interview, the prisoner goes over his situation and
the situation of the Basque Political Prisoners’ Collective, highlighting
the idea that there is a Spanish State political strategy being this

- On August 7 you began an indefinite hunger strike. Which were the main
reasons that led you to this?

There are four reasons: I am convinced that the jurisprudence created in
my case will affect all political prisoners and freedom of speech too, not
just me; I am sure that I am not harming anyone and that any positive
consequences will be for everyone and negative consequences will only
affect me; the need to sat “enough is enough” in the face of so many
attacks; and the need to demand my release after having finished serving
my sentence two years ago.

- Instead of choosing another form of struggle, you chose the toughest
form of protest

The forms of struggle available to a prisoner are very limited: lock-ups,
refusal to do certain things, hunger strikes and some other purely
symbolic things. Unfortunately, and despite the fact this is also subject
to many limits, the only thing that can be taken seriously as a protest
and may serve as a form of pressure is to place your life in the hands of
the Administration. And this is also the form of struggle best understood
outside, precisely because of its toughness.

- You have had no food for over a month, how has this time passed?

Very quickly, because of the tremendous motivation I have. I feel very
strong and positive. Physically, I feel the normal wear, but
psychologically I am even more determined than when I made the decision.

The Audiencia Nacional ordered you to be taken to a hospital for various
tests and they also ordered you to be force fed, even against your will.
What is your opinion on this?

To date, September 14, they took me out to hospital on the first two
weeks, to carry out electrocardiograms and various tests; I refuse to do
this voluntarily so as not to cooperate with a medical team made up of the
very same people who are prepared to act against my will and using force.
After those two weeks, they are carrying out the tests inside the prison,
always under the coverage of the Audiencia Nacional decision.

The AN has issued two decisions up to now: one from the Central
Penitentiary Court and another one from the First Section of the Penal
Court. Both say I can be taken to hospital whenever they want and they can
do all kinds of tests.

They have not issued the order to force-feed me yet, but they have said
they will and I don’t think they will take much longer, because even the
medical vice-director of the prison told me he would not allow me to be on
hunger strike for more than 50 days without them force-feeding me.

Both the measures they have taken up to now and the ones still to come are
unjustly violating my will, regardless of how much constitutional backing
they have. It is not only psychological torture, in that it violates my
will, but also physical, violating my body, because they do it through
physical force. In addition, these measures lengthen your suffering, but
they do not guarantee you will live, nor do they guarantee you will have a
healthy life in decent conditions.

- One of the court decisions used your medical precedent of “kidney
failure” as justification

In the early 90s, in Salto del Negro jail, there were a number of very
tough struggles. During 1992, I took part in three long hunger strikes.
Other comrades, Esteban, Tapia, Garratz
 did more than I, before and after
I was there.

During the third and last hunger strike I took part in, after
forty-something days I had a bad case of kidney failure. They forcefully
intubated me and urgently got me out of the prison. I must have been in
bad condition because there was a doctor with me all the way on the ship
and then in the ambulance, all the way to the Málaga Prison Infirmary,
where they held me for a month and a half until I recovered.

As you know, when the kidneys stop, the damage is definitive, but mine did
not get that bad. The damage was reversible and I recovered completely.
Fourteen years later, the Penitentiary Administration has shaken the dust
off this old situation and included it in the medical history it has sent
to the Audiencia Nacional to justify these hurried measures. That is why
the court decision makes that reference.

However, I want to make it clear that at the time of beginning the hunger
strike my health was perfect, I had no illnesses whatsoever.

- You have expressed total determination to carry on with the hunger
strike, what makes your decision be so firm?

It is the only weapon I have. I do not know what will happen in this
situation. It will depend on several factors. But I am certain that the
alternative is life imprisonment and dying of old age in prison. I choose
to fight, and we will see what happens. In any case, fighting in itself is
winning. But I do not want my decision to be seen as a desperate measure;
that it is not. It is a struggle.

- Since you began your protest many protests have taken place in the
street. What is the value of these gestures of solidarity? Do you feel the
warmth from the street?

Yes, it gets in here and I can feel it. These actions are extremely
important for my morale and for the possible, though difficult, resolution
of this situation. I am immensely grateful. But I am also conscious that
only a small part of this is because of me, and so it should be.
Solidarity is for all the political prisoners and for all those who suffer
reprisals because of their political ideas. Of course, mine is one of the
most striking situations, although all of them are a scandal. And at this
point in time it seems this has been cathartic in the midst of the
sickness about the lack of movement and all the attacks.

Attacks against the Basque Political prisoners’ Collective and their
living conditions have come in quick succession; what is your reading of
the situation and what is your assessment of the Collective as a whole?

I am not the person to ask about the Collective as a whole. The only ones
who can and must answer that are the comrades officially appointed
representatives of all the Basque political prisoners. Plus, honestly, it
would be unfair for me to answer this because, strange as it may seem, I
do not know. I mean that after the policy of dispersal began, I have
almost always been held in isolation wings, with very few comrades, so I
only know what a few of us think.

Personally, I think that for years, especially the last three years, the
State has been filling the bag with hostages; in order to let them go
later on, if needs be, little by little. And to draw out any possible
resolution process over the years, keeping up the blackmail. To sell the
dismantling of the previously taken increases in repression as if this was
a gesture of generosity and after a number of years, to arrive at the same
situation we were in fifteen years ago.

However, and I am not talking in anyone’s name, what I do know, as any
observer should, is that the Collective has resisted every kind of attack
for almost thirty years, and we will continue to resist.

- In your case, they have used two opinion articles in order to request a
new sentence of 96 years in jail

But the first argument they used not to release me was because they voided
definitive judicial decisions about my remission due to studies. When they
could no longer use this because it was even causing contradictions among
the judges and they still had not come up with the “Parot Doctrine”, they
came up with the thing about the articles. Anything goes to keep the
hostage bag full. Don’t let anyone out; or, at least, don’t let anyone
they don’t want out.

- Lately, Basque political and institutional leaders have made statements
asking for the prisoners to be repatriated, or, at least, for them to be
moved closer to their homes. What is your assessment of these statements?

They are a firework display. Pure hypocrisy. Because these are nothing but
statements, the deeds do not match the words. They implement no measures
to give credibility to their words. Plus, you must not forget that all
those leaders are collaborators in dispersal, the suffering, the deaths,
inside prison and also relatives and friends, the road accidents, the
economic burden

The only ones who have always been on the side of the prisoners are the
Basque independence movement, and we must not forget this or be distracted
with talk and hot air. What is happening is that, with their attitude and
lack of dignity, yet again, all those politicians are looking to make
political profit from the possible future repatriation of the prisoners.

- Do you have any hope that popular pressure will achieve anything for the

Personally, I expect nothing but repression from the Spanish leaders. I
expect nothing from Basque and false-Navarrese collaborationists. As
always, the independence movement will have to face the problems and solve
them on its own, with its own strength. As always, through struggle and
sacrifice. Struggling and rebelling means not allowing ourselves to be
assimilated. It means resistance. And, in the long run, it means victory.

Free All Political Prisoners!
nycjericho at riseup.net • www.jerichony.org

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