on Sun, 14 Mar 2004 23:40:39 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> The 201st Victim?

I have been resisting starting anything on nettime about the aftermath 
of 11M but this story has been buried by the media as far as I can tell.

Spanish police officer kills member of "Gurasoak" association in Iruñea
Iruñea-born Angel Berroeta was killed in his bakery; the police officer 
was arrested, as was his son

Asier Azpilikueta – IRUÑEA (Pamplona)

61-year-old Angel Berroeta-Legaz from Iruñea was killed at midday 
yesterday by a member of the Spanish Police in the bakery belonging to 
the former located in the Donibane (San Juan) quarter of Iruñea. The 
police officer was off duty and stabbed and shot Berroeta several times 
after a heated argument. It was alleged to have been a political 
argument (Berroeta was a member of the Gurasoak 
<> association). The 
police officer who fired the shots was arrested and so was his son, who 
was thought to have taken part in the argument.

Angel Berroeta's bakery is at 18, Martin Azpilkueta street in the 
Donibane quarter and the police officer lives next door in flat "C" on 
the first floor. According to neighbours, at about 13.30 hours the 
policeman's wife had had a heated argument with Berroeta about a poster 
saying / ETA, ez / (No to ETA); the neighbours were eager to stress that 
the woman did not go to that bakery to get bread, "as she always goes to 
buy bread at the bakery opposite".

The woman appears to have requested or demanded that Berroeta put a 
poster in his shop window, but the latter refused. And that was how the 
fatal argument began. After that the versions given by the neighbours 
differ somewhat. Some say the police officer was outside and others that 
he was in the flat. Whichever the case, the woman called the police 
officer and he went into the bakery and shot and stabbed Berroeta 
several times.

The police officer and the woman left the bakery and went to their flat. 
According to a witness in the same block of flats the woman said, "It 
was my fault, it was my fault."

see also:

The Sydney Morning Herald, on eof the very few non Basque news outlets 
to run this story said that
"Imprisoned members of ETA were assaulted immediately after the blasts, ..."

In the light f this some recent reports on the situation of basque 
prisoners might be a a little useful for nettimers:

Van Boven: "In Spain torture is inflicted more frequently than 
The UN Rapporteur has recommended among the many proposals put forward 
that legislation permitting incommunicado detention be abolished, and 
the Spanish Government has responded by rejecting the report "outright"

Imanol Murua Uria – DONOSTIA (San Sebastian)

Theo Van Boven, the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, has concluded 
in his report based on interviews and investigations conducted in the 
Basque Country and in Spain last October that torture is inflicted "more 
frequently than occasionally in Spain". He gives credence to the 
testimonies of torture he heard, and despite saying that torture is not 
"systematic", he does not believe that the complaints of bad treatment 
have been "made up".

As he believes that Spanish legislation opens up the way for torture and 
bad treatment to take place, he has made specific suggestions to the 
Spanish Government in his report due to be presented on March 15, but 
which is already available on the web site of the UN Office for the High 
Commissioner of Human Rights ( among other things, in 
order to safeguard the detainees' right to speak to their lawyers alone, 
to guarantee the care of the doctor of their choice, to record the 
interrogations on video, to identify the interrogators at all times and 
to investigate torture claims independently, he has called for the 
abolishing of the legislation that makes the holding of detainees 
incommunicado possible.

The Spanish Government has rejected all the recommendations in its 
report in response to Van Boven's conclusions. Among many other reasons 
the Spanish Government says that holding detainees incommunicado "in 
Spain, at least" does not facilitate torture, in the report signed by 
the Permanent Representation it has at the UN Headquarters in Geneva.

Van Boven's report runs to 23 pages. In the main conclusions the UN 
Rapporteur says "the system itself in Spain opens up the way for torture 
and bad treatment especially when detainees are held incommunicado in 
connection with terrorism." He argues that he received "reliable 
information" to arrive at this conclusion.

As the report states, the "reliable interviewees" indicated to Van Boven 
that they suspected that the police "involved in the fight against 
terrorism" resorted to torture and bad treatment "more frequently than 
occasionally", and direct testimony of those detained and interrogated 
"verified" this suspicion. According to the UN investigator, in the 
first-hand testimonies he received, he was informed about blows, 
exhausting physical exercises, insulting sexual persecution, and the 
practice of suffocation with plastic material. In the report he wrote, 
"The view of this Special Rapporteur is that in the light of the 
information received and bearing in mind the specific nature of the 
details of the events, these complaints of torture or bad treatment 
cannot be regarded as having been made up."

"Dreadful year" for prisoners and relatives
The Etxerat association drew attention yesterday to the fact that curbs 
on Basque prisoners' rights and the situation of their relatives were 
"worsening by the day" and has called on institutions to put aside their 
"indifference" and undertake effective initiatives

Eider Goenaga – DONOSTIA (San Sebastian)

"A dreadful year". That is how the Etxerat 
<> member Saioa Agirre 
described 2003. The situation of the prisoners is becoming increasingly 
worse; their relatives involved in 23 accidents; three killed on the 
roads; two "fighting for their lives" as a result of a road accident; 
illegal practices made legal; seriously ill prisoners beaten up; 
expulsions, etc. The Etxerat association's assessment of 2003 presented 
yesterday a list of all these things. Moreover, the fact that there are 
more prisoners than ever who are more dispersed than ever must be added 
to all this: there are 700 detainees in 80 prisons.

Agirre went on to stress that the start of this year does not point to 
any improvement, but rather the opposite. The prison transfers taken 
place have been to move prisoners further away, other prisoners on 
parole have been imprisoned, Manu Azkarate released under article 92 (*) 
has been imprisoned again and moved away to Alcala. Etxerat members went 
through the infringements of rights that took place last year, category 
by category.

* Death penalty: * Relatives going to visit Basque prisoners last year 
suffered 23 road accidents and 100 people were involved in these accidents.

* Financial drain: * Agirre denounced the fact that "Basque prisoners' 
friends and relatives are suffering a tremendous financial drain to be 
able to exercise the right of communication enshrined in Spanish and 
French legislation". Indeed each family is spending an average of 
1,350.65 euros a month on travel.

* Transferring people far away: * Last year there were 438 transfers; 
200 of them involved a change in destination. Over 70% of the changes in 
destination were to take Basque prisoners further away from the Basque 
Country. "The prisons of Galicia, Andalusia and Paris are full of 
Basques," said Agirre.

* Only 15 prisoners in the Basque Country: * The Spanish Government has 
decided to take Basque political prisoners out of the Basque Country 
prisons and Etxerat converted this into figures. Today there are six 
political prisoners in Langraitz (Araba); seven in Martutene (Gipuzkoa), 
two in Iruñea (Pamplona); not a single one in Basauri (Bizkaia).

* Solitary confinement blocks: * Etxerat has accused the Spanish and 
French government of "intensifying the prisoners' lack of protection"; 
"they want them to feel alone in the blocks they have built to destroy 
people physically and mentally. They have turned punishment cells into 
"normal blocks" for Basque prisoners, says Etxerat.

* In 'mitard' and alone: * Basque prisoners are also kept in solitary 
confinement in French prisons, and not just in punishment cells 
('mitard') but in many prisons there is only one Basque prisoner. An 
extreme case is that of Txuma Puy from Lekunberri (Navarre). He was 
taken to Strasbourg last year; to visit him people have to travel over 
1,300 km and he is the only Basque prisoner there.

(*) This article in the Criminal Code makes provision for release on 
parole of prisoners who are seriously ill or who have incurable illnesses.

"the riddle which man must solve, he can only solve in being, in 
being what he is and not something else...."

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