Sinn Féin councillor Marty McColgan has welcomed the passage of a motion at Omagh District Council which 'condemns the repressive measures by the Spanish state against Basque political youth organisation, Segi' and calls for 'an end to repressive measures against the pro independence movement in the Basque country.'
The Sinn Féin motion was inspired by West Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin who has maintained strong fraternal links with the Basque Youth Movement, vigorously campaigning against the repression in the Basque Country and has hosted a number of Segi delegations in the local area in the recent past.
The motion came to the council a day after a Belfast court, acting on a European extradition warrant issued by the Spanish, ruled that Inaki de juana chaos who served 25 years in jail in the Basque country, including 63 days on Hunger Strike, should be extradited to the Basque country.
The Extradition warrant was based on a letter allegedly written by Inaki and read out at a rally in Donastia following his release. The alleged letter used the popular Basque expression "Aurrera boile" ("Kick the ball forward") The Spanish authorities claim this phrase constitutes a call for the continuation of armed struggle.
Inaki who moved to Ireland immediately upon his release denies any knowledge of the alleged letter and thus far the Spanish authorities have produced no evidence of such a letter.
Condemning the extradition of Inaki, and the repression of Basque Youth, Councillor Marty McColgan said:
"The ruling by a Belfast court is grossly inhumane and ignores evidence that the Spanish authorities are knowingly abusing the extradition process.”
"It is clear that many detainees and prisoners receive systematic abuses carried out by the Spanish and French states. Nothing suggests that Inaki will be any different given what has happened on many occasions in the past. These abuses have been documented by the UN's Committee on the Prevention of Torture as well as reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.”
"In November leading members of the pro independence movement unveiled proposals aimed at securing a peaceful, democratic resolution of the conflict in the Basque country however they didn't have to wait long for a response from the Spanish. Within days of the proposals being made public 34 young political activists were arrested and subsequently imprisoned in dawn raids throughout the Basque country.”
"Amongst the repressive measures in the Basque country are the banning of political parties and arrests of its members, civil and political rights such as freedom of speech, assembly and association are constantly under siege. In addition peaceful demonstrations are brutally attacked and there is a constant stream of testimonies emerging from the Basque country of torture of prisoners and political activists.”
"It was with this in mind that the motion came before the council on Tuesday night condemning such abuses against Basque citizens.”
"Indeed the people who are behind the banning of the pro independence parties are the same people who are asking the independence movement to express themselves politically, yet when they aim to contest elections they are deemed illegal.”
"Having met with representatives from the pro independence movement it is clear they are not found wanting when it comes to promoting a peaceful, democratic solution to the conflict; however this must be replicated by the Spanish and French if they are serious about resolving the conflict in the Basque country.”
"The right of the Basque people to national self determination must be recognised by the Spanish and French states. Only a solution based on an end to partition, the recognition of the Basque country as a seven provinces nation and the right to national self determination can solve the long and violent conflict.”