As the Spanish government squares up for conflict with the Catalan people some prisoners involved in the longest running campaign for independence from Spain in the Basque country are starting to be released.
This week Arkaitz Saez and Aratz Gomez who were arrested on November 16, 1998, in Irun in the Spanish administered Basque country were released after serving 18 years in prison both men are from the French administered Basque country and while they served most of their time in Spanish jails latterly they were transferred to a prison in France. They assert that they were tortured in police custody and this is entirely credible given that the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Council of Europe have criticised the treatment of Basque prisoners for ill treatment of detainees.
Basques detained by Spain both men and women were tortured and in some instances died in prison. There were also extra-judicial killings of Basque nationalists in both Spain and France.
Recent events indicate that the Spanish government has learned nothing from the long war in the Basque country and still favours repression rather than democracy. Saint-Pierrot denounces having been tortured while in police custody. After doing most of their time in the Spanish state, they were both released this week.
Image: Former Basque prisoner Arkaitz Saez is greeted by relatives after almost two decades of incarceration on Spanish and French jails.
pp Celtic League