Spain: UN protests arbitrary detentions

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a resolution Oct. 23 in the case of Karmelo Landa, a Basque nationalist arrested by Spanish earlier this year in Bilbao on charges of “collaboration” with the outlawed political party Batasuna. The resolution found that “the only accusation against Mr. Landa (possible membership in Batasuna’s national executive) without expressly identifying any kind of role promoting criminal or terrorist activities, means that his arrest and imprisonment is based only in being a member of an illegal party. This is not a crime, but exercise of a human right recognized both by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 19, 20, 21) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Art. 18, 19, 22).” The resolution called on Spain to immediately “remedy the situation.” (Euskal Herria News, Gara, Bilbao, Oct. 23)

The resolution came in the wake of more such arrests. Ten prominent activists, including Batasuna leader Arnaldo Otegi and former general secretary of the LAB trade union Rafa Diez, were arrested Oct. 13 and ordered imprisoned by judge Baltasar Garzón on charges of attempting to “reorganize the leadership” of the Basque nationalist movement. Five of the 10 were arrested in a raid on the national headquarters of the LAB union in Donostia. On Oct. 17, more than 35,000 marched in Donostia/San Sebastian in protest of the new wave of arrests. (An Phoblacht, Belfast, Oct. 22)

See our last posts on Spain and the Basque struggle.

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