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Spain’s detention of Basque lawyers is undemocratic

GUE/NGL strongly condemns the Spanish Guardia Civil's detention of 16 Basque citizens.

12 of the detainees are lawyers who work defending Basque prisoners, three of whom are currently part of the defence team for the 35 members of the 'abertzale' left who were supposed to be tried this Monday in Spanish courts because of their political work.

“These lawyers were arrested two days after 80,000 people demonstrated against the existing prison policy which means prisoners are kept far from the Basque Country,” said Basque GUE/NGL MEP Josu Juaristi, addressing a European Parliament debate on the matter yesterday evening.

He continued: “These people have clearly been arrested because of their political defence work of prisoners. It's an attack against the peace process. It's unacceptable for a member state to violate fundamental rights such as the right to defence with this sort of impunity.

“Spain is moving further and further away from the definition of a state based on the rule of law – it is proving to be undemocratic.”

GUE/NGL MEPs strongly urge the Spanish government to move forward in order to consolidate the ongoing peace process in the Basque Country, in order to resolve the conflict in a peaceful and democratic way, in line with the appeals of the international community and the European Parliament, which encourage all the parties involved in the conflict to advance in that direction.

GUE/NGL considers that actions such as the detention of these 16 people only sets the Basque Country back and rolls back the gains of progress made to date.

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group