On the 3rd October 2013, members of the BFG held a press conference with former MEP Karmelo Landa and Aritz Lopez, both of them taken to trial for their political activities and take part on LIBRE.
Karmelo Landa’s Intervention:
The accused, Aritz Lopez, from the summary 13/2009 and Karmelo Landa of the 35/02 summary have taken advantage of the visit made by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg at the beginning of this week and here at the European Parliament to expose the following:
The imputations in the massive mega-trials violate the basic rights such as the free option of political association and free expression. They also activate, precisely in the moment in which the Basque citizens bravely work to open a path for democratic coexistence; and they continue to put obstacles on this path.
In the legal aspect, the summary 25/02 brings to trial 11 and a half years after its instruction, that has been qualified as an “authentic absurdity” by experts in criminal law, professors and legal experts.
- In the proceeding the only guilty element is based on those accused by the police that have made the summary accusation on the preliminary investigation and that were later presented in the courtroom as specialists.
- The requests by the prosecutors are disproportionate, reaching 372 years of prison for the accused in the 35/02 summary and 240 years in prison for the youth of the 13/2009 summary.
- In addition, they include the strange legal figure of “not accused but to appear before” in the hearing for 110 people responsible for cultural associations of the entire Basque Country (poorly called “herriko tabernas”) to obtain the confiscation of them.
In the case of the 13/2009 summary against 40 pro-independence youth, the evidence is based on self-incriminations and incriminations achieved through torture; in the participation of public acts such as demonstrations, meetings, and political events, at the time which were legal; in reunions and press conferences; in the properties taken away in the raids such as books, t-shirts, music CD ‘s, that can be acquired in any establishment.
These two procedures are already having serious personal consequences of those accused but not judged: almost all of them have suffered preventive custody. They have been forced to deposit bonds for a total of 1,750,000 Euros, and limitations on their movements.
The very celebration of these trials represents an added punishment since from the 14th to the 17th of October, and for a time that can prolong itself for five months, all of the accused are obliged to come to the Spanish National Court in Madrid several days of the week. The economic cost of the trips and stays comes to 700,000 Euros in one case and 200,000 in the other.
In this context, the accused in the two mega-trials have organized themselves in the platform called “LIBRE” (free) to organize their defence above all, to defend solidarity and the active commitment of the Basque citizenry, of their political, social and trade union organizations, of the institutions and also of the international community, beginning with the European Union, which explains our presence here today.
We thank the good reception that we have received on the part of the parliamentarians of all the groups of the parliamentary assembly of the European Council in Strasbourg at the beginning of this week as well as here in the European Parliament on the part of Friendship and also from the representatives of all the political groups.
Basing us on this interest and the good reception we have received, it permits us to adopt the commitments that we consider convenient in the sphere of this European Parliament to guarantee that the peace process and coexistence open in the Basque Country can be developed with success overcoming the obstacles such as these unjust trials and also the serious situations such as those created this past Monday with the police assault against the offices of the Herrira association, defenders of the human rights of the political prisoners, and the arbitrary arrest of 18 people responsible for this organization, for which we demand their immediate release.