The 32 County Sovereignty Movement have been contacted by our comrades in the Basque country and asked to highlight the deteriorating situation faced by Basque political prisoners held in Spanish jails.
This situation has come to a head in the Murcia Prison where political prisoners have embarked on various protests including hunger strikes, to challenge the ongoing mistreatment and conditions being imposed in the face of the current Covid-19 virus.
The prisoners demands at this time are as follows:
1. The freeing of vulnerable prisoners and those who are coming to the end of their sentences.
2. To receive family visits.
3. Access to materials to avoid being infected (gloves, sanitisers etc.).
4. Carrying out of Covid-19 tests on prisoners and jailers.
5. In the event of the death of a family member, the possibility of a prisoner going to the funeral or funeral home to pay their last respects.
From the beginning of the protests the Spanish oppressive treatment of the prisoners has escalated resulting in a hunger strike.
Patxi Ruiz a political prisoner held in Murcia prison received an injury that required medical treatment and was taken to the infirmary.
Whilst there Patxi was refused pain management, there was no privacy and screws repeatedly demanded he shout out a prison number in order to be seen. The clinician tasked with treating Patxi told the guards to "Take this shit out of here".
Over the years Patxi and his comrades have been pushed to their limits. From the 1998 peace talks, the 2011 permanent cessation of armed activities, the 2017 decommissioning of their weapons and their subsequent dissolving in 2018, ETA has received nothing but brutal treatment from the Spanish and their lackies in the Basque country.
Most of the political prisoners find themselves in jail as a result of tactics not seen since the time of Franco, political parties have been banned and their members imprisoned, newspapers have been closed down with editors and journalists tortured, Basque language academics are prosecuted and the list goes on. These things are not happening in some far away country many years ago, its happening today in an EU country.
Basque Political Prisoner Patxi Ruiz
As a result of the current situation Patxi and four of his comrades have now embarked on a hunger and thirst strike and looking at our own history, we more than anyone know where this could lead, not just for our comrades and their families but for the wider societies in both Spain and the Basque country. Have Spain like England learned nothing from their disastrous involvement in other peoples countries? Spain would do well to learn from Englands mistakes in Ireland.
We here know all too well the pain and heartache that this form of protest can bring to the families and to the people of the Basque country but, we also know how important international comradeship and support is at times like this and as such we call on all political, religious and human rights activists in Ireland to bring whatever pressure they can onto the Spanish government to end the situation in their prisons at this time.
We for our part will get behind the campaign set out by the Basques and will do our bit in any way we can.