No Extradition To Spanish Kangaroo Courts
rights and freedoms |
Dé hAoine Lúnasa 31, 2012 16:46 by Dublin Basque - Dublin Basque Solidarity Committee
France must not hand over Arturo (Benat) Villanueva to the Spanish National Court.
Arturo (Benat) Villanueva was arrested in the northern Basque Country by gendarmes on Monday, on a European warrant issued by the Spanish Government. The Dublin Basque Solidarity Committee is mobilising a solidarity protest 5,30pm, NEXT MONDAY 3rd SEPT: HANDS OFF ARTURO (BENAT) VILLANUEVA PICKET OF ALLIANCE FRANCAISE, KILDARE/ NASSEAU STREETS
Arrest Arturo Villanueva in Belfast on Spanish extradition warrant last year
Arturo (Benat) Villanueva was arrested in the northern Basque Country by gendarmes on Monday, on a European warrant issued by the Spanish Government. The warrant alleges terrorism, the Spanish state's interpretation of any political commitment to an independent and socialist Basque Country. This appears to be the same warrant that was rejected by a British judge in Belfast in August last year (see link to Indymedia article).
Arturo had been a students' union representative in university in Nafarroa and openly active in the broad pro-independence Left movement. The Spanish National Court charged him in 2001 with being a member of Jarrai, a political youth organisation of the Basque Abertzale (pro-Independence) Left movement which it banned the following year. This was the beginning of a spate of bannings of political parties, youth organisations, newpapers, magazines, radio stations, organisation of local authorities, taverns, and electoral platforms. The most recent was the banning of the political alliance Sortu, which has just recently been overturned by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
Facing a possible 14-year jail sentence for his political activities, Arturo did not attend his trial when it opened in 2003 and went into hiding. In 2004, he moved to West Belfast, where he lived openly and was well-known there for his Basque solidarity and cultural work, as well as for guiding walking historical tours. He has taken Basque bands and cultural groups to Dublin and has visited the city many times and attending this Committee's commemoration in April of this year of the Nazi bombing of Gernika. He moved to Iparralde (Basque northern country) this year and lived openly there as a refugee.
Since the terrorist "dirty war" of the Spanish state-sponsored GAL against the Basque refugees in the northern Basque Country during the 1980s, the French state has collaborated closely with the Spanish state in handing over refugees to Guardia Civil torture and National Court conviction and jailing. This must cease.
The Spanish mainstream media have already found Arturo guilty.
The record of the Spanish National Court in terms of justice or judicial procedures is abysmal. They have routinely linked political work with armed actions purely through groups having similar objectives, convicted on "confessions" obtained by tortures, failed to investigate consistent allegations of torture by the Guardia Civil, failed to act on domestic and international recommendations on safeguards against torture, handed out long sentences to Basque activists and ridiculous sentences to the few Guardia Civil tried and convicted of torture. The lack of safeguards in the procedures of the Spanish National Court, along with its unwarranted assumptions, have been criticised by many human and civil rights organisations, including Amnesty International and the UN Committee Against Torture. No Basque accused of "terrorism" by that court should be extradited to face trial there.
NO EXTRADITION TO SPANISH KANGAROO COURTS!
Please forward this information and especially details of the protest.
Letters, emails, faxes and telephone calls of protest (please let us know, including response) may be sent to
France Embassy , Ireland
36 Ailesbury rd, Ballsbridge
and/ or to
Mme. Christiane Taubira,
Ministre de la Justice
Arturo (Benat) leaving Belfast court last year
Poster for Dublin commemoration of Gernika bombing, attended by Arturo (Benat).