Tuesday, November 07, 2006
BASQUE COUNTRY: With ETA's armed struggle over, the struggle continues in the prisons
BASQUE PRISONERS ON HUNGER STRIKE
IN A statement on October 16 the Basque Political Prisoners Association confirmed that a number of Basque prisoners were now on hunger strike in Spanish jails.
The statement said: "As the fight for political status gathers momentum in the Basque Country, political prisoners belonging to the EPPK (Basque Political Prisoners Association) have now confirmed a prison hunger strike protest by those involved in the prisoners' association.
"EPPK stated in a recent interview which was given to the Basque Newspaper 'Berria' that they met with several Penitentiary Institutions throughout 2005 to state their case as political prisoners and to demand recognition for political status as 'political prisoners'. Such requests have to date not been taken seriously.
"The EPPK is made up of political prisoners from across the Basque Country whose aim it is to assist and as well as to deliver many protest actions within the Spanish Prison system.
"Many protest actions to date have been against 'Strip Searches', 'Isolation & Confinement', 'punishment beatings and torture' which is common practice.
"As well as protests for 'political status', 'education and free association' and 'to be regrouped closer to home' an act which is enshrined within 'Spanish Law' but isn't on offer to any political activists. Political prisoners are dispersed far from their homes, their family, friends and loved ones."
A spokesperson for EPPK stated that although the present political climate has improved (slightly on the outside) they believed that the general process was in crisis and warned the Spanish Government that political prisoners must not be used as exchange elements, claiming that political prisoners are a consequence of years of political conflict.
However, to date their requests have been ignored by the Spanish authorities. Instead it is said that it was followed by "the wave of repression", not to mention further "political isolation".
The EPPK have said that they intend to carry out a hunger strike on October 19 and 20 to direct and to focus urgent attention to the demands for political status, self-determination and an amnesty for all political prisoners.