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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Testimonies of tortured by Spanish police

Political repression in the Basque Country, including arbitrary arrests, false accusations, trials without guarantees and tortures, is so common that I cannot certainly make mention of everything. In fact, I fear that I am so used to reading about repression that I don't even give it too much importance or even try to take it off my mind.

But at least now and then I must make mention so my readers get an idea of what is going on here. These is what happened, by their own accounts, to the last spat of arrested and tortured Basques, the victims of the reaction of the state to the confirmation by ETA that they were in a unilateral truce. All them were arrested by the Guardia Civil, a military police corps similar to the French Gendarmerie or the Italian Carabinieri, that has the worst reputation. The typical journey to Madrid by car may last some 4-5 hours but tortures continued once in police dependencies. Sexual abuse has become lately a common way of torture.

Sandra Barrenetxea had her upper clothes removed while being transported to Madrid. In the transport, she was systematically insulted, beaten and touched. Eventually a policeman took away her pants, forcing her to open her legs while another hit her on the head. She was forced to wear only her underwear in the interrogations and was threatened with rape repeatedly. In one occasion she was forced to lie her torso on a piece of furniture while the policemen tied her legs with a rope and threw cold water to her genitals between threats of rape.

Ugaitz Elizaran claims to have suffered more than 20 times the torture known as "the bag" (they put a plastic bag on your head and tighten it so you cannot breath and experience the agony of death). In one case, while suffering this torture, they tied his hands at the back and enveloped him in a mattress, with several policemen sitting on him. He tells that he even lost his sight once. Additionally they forced him to make physical exercises and beat him, as well as issuing threats against his relatives and friends, showing him a manipulated photo to make him believe, falsely, that his couple was also arrested.

Rosa Iriarte told that she was forced to touch a white narcotic dust, what caused her lose the feeling of her hands. Then they threw the same dust on her legs loosing sense in that part of the body as well. When they finally gave her a glass of water, she also ingested some of the substance, having all the mouth "asleep". Additionally she was forced to hear how the other arrested were tortured and was applied electrodes but no shocks (a threat).

Eneko Compains suffered the bag as well since the very moment he was introduced in the police van. He also denounced a very harsh psychological treatment with systematic threats against his relatives and a threat of anal rape with a stick. Curiously, he mentions that when he rejected to make a declaration at the police station the attitude of the cops relaxed. He asked to the physician for habeas corpus but his petition was rejected by the tribunal.

Aniaiz Ariznabarreta was, like Barrenetxea, deprived of her upper clothes in the journey to Madrid, suffering touchings and sexist insults. The same pattern was repeated at the police station for the four days of the arrest, when she was forced to stay naked and suffered sexual abuse (touchings on breasts and vagina). Ariznabarreta also reports that she was once enveloped in a blanket and then in a mattress, with a policeman sitting on her while the other five officers did not stop yelling, insulting and making threats.

Egoitz Garmendia was also applied the bag with some peculiarities (tape on his mouth and sometimes throwing water to his face when releasing the grip). He was heavily beaten and also enveloped in a blanket and/or mattress for policemen to jump on him (one on his genitals). He also reported repeated hits against his genitals (without the mattress) and threats of rape with a stick. In one occasion, when being brought back to the cell, they threw water on him, forcing him to stay naked with the only aid of a blanket (police cells are not warm, I can tell you).

Erika Bilbao was forced to stay in difficult postures, beaten and threatened, reporting as well a harsh psychological treatment full of threats against her loved ones. Like the rest, she could not rest because of continuous noise and yelling.

Joxe Aldasoro was kept in a dark room in which he could see nothing. When moved, he was blindfolded. Otherwise he reports continuous threats against his relatives and friends.

Urko Aierbe was beaten so badly that his leg was injured and he cannot walk normally now. His report includes the bag (twice), forced positions and continuous beatings.

Source: Gara.

Make up your own mind. But this is essentially what we read, hear or just know from experience that happens when someone is arrested, in particular (but not only) by the Guardia Civil. Spanish 'anti-terrorist' laws allow for incommunicado arrest without any guarantees for several days and when these are applied the usual thing to happen is torture of this or that sort. Later they may well let you free with or without charges, for the media your a "terrorist" anyhow and most won't listen to your denounces.


manolonte said...

Gara is ETA's newspaper, so any information obtained from that place is not reliable at all. ETA is a complex business and they survive by telling this kind of lies. Guardia Civil does not have a bad reputation in Spain, they are known for being very respectful with everyone of us, I can tell you.

Maju said...

No, Gara is the people's newspaper: it was created by popular subscription in few weeks after the Spanish fascists closed Egin. I remember well.

Gara only reproduces the testimonies of the victims, which very few if any other news outlet does.

Your logic is twisted and proper of a Spanish Nazi, I don't want people like you visiting here: go back to your Nazi hole.

"Guardia Civil does not have a bad reputation in Spain"...

It does in general and it does in particular in the Basque Country: it is the corps most commonly associated with torture and and its worse forms. This is largely because they are branch of the military instead of being a civilian entity and do not allow policemen to be unionized.