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Friday, September 5, 2008

Daily bread: arrests, torture, police impunity, defenseless citizens

Press conference yesterday of the relatives of the lastly arrested Basque citizens, two of which were released (one on bail) and the other two remain in prision accused of belonging to Ekin (a ghostly organization of dubious existence, allegedly related to ETA). According to the civil rights organization Askatasuna (
Freedom), they were treated properly by police until their arrival to Madrid, where they suffered tortures.

The two women still under arrest are Maitane Intxaurraga and Maider Caminos. Noé López and Amaia Legarra were released after interrogation and judicial declaration.

Image of the press conference


Fran Balda, husband of Intxaurraga: Sunday morning we were driving to the Shepherds' Day festival at Uharte Arakil. After a while, I noticed something was going wrong because two cars were following us.

One of them blocked our way forcing us to stop and, from it, a masked person came out handing a gun and yelling. He was out of his mind. I asked him to relax and remove the wepon because that way he would only scare the children but he ignored me. Finally he took Maitane out of the car by force.

Lur, the elder daughter
[13 years-old], began to cry desperately while watching her mother being taken, while Iker, the younger son [4 y.o.], felt terribly at witnessing that situation.

That evening the police registered the family home. Before finishing Balda argued with one of the police commanders. He prostested that all the fault was my wife's, because of getting involved in such mess. I replied that my wife has not been judged nor sentenced yet, so asked him to shut up.

Irantzu Legarra, sister of Amaia Legarra. While Amaia, town councilor in Basaburua, was free on bail of 4,000 euros by then and managed to be at the press conference, she could not recall publically all suffered while under arrest, as she became overcome by sadness. Her sister did in her place.

She told us that she was hit several times on the head and that has been under continuous verbal threats. In Pamplona she was treated properly but upon arrival to Madrid pressure began. She was not allowed to sleep in all four days she was in custody.

They have been playing all the time with her. First, they yelled at her and forced her to be with her head lowered, then they told her to relax and "there was nothing to worry". She was threatened with "the bag" [breath deprivation using a plastic bag] and other tortures but finally they spared her that part.

She was arrested atby two masked men who did not identify as policemen, so she was calling for help desperately but nobody coul aid her.

Amaia Albizu, mother of Noé López. The young Noé, free without charges, could not be present at the press conference because of a major depresive crisis, triggered by the anxiety attacks he suffered while under arrest that caused him to be hospitalized twice.

His mother declared: My son is a very healthy guy, who had never before suffered this kind of crisis. It is terrifying to think in the anguish, pressure and fear that he had to suffer while arrested for this to happen.

She denounced the attitude of miltary policemen at the hosptal: Every time that the doctor or nurses entered the room, they went in with them, and even told them not to inform of the health state of Noé to his relatives. This way, she said, they attempted to create a muddy enviroment at the hospital for doctors to get tired and allow police to take him back.

Source: Gara: Operación policial en Nafarroa. "Los han detenido por trabajar en favor de Euskal Herria".

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