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1,000 sign petition against Basque extraditions
rights, freedoms and repression |
Friday September 11, 2009 00:38 by Emma Clancy - Don't Extradite the Basques Campaign
The Don't Extradite the Basques Campaign has welcomed the news this week that the petition against the extradition to Spain of Belfast-based Basque pro-independence activists Iñaki de Juana and Arturo Beñat Villanueva now has more than 1,000 signatories from Ireland, Britain, the Basque Country, Spain and around the world, including elected representatives, human rights campaigners, lawyers, academics and community leaders.
The Don't Extradite the Basques Campaign has welcomed the growing support for the two Belfast-based Basque men fighting extradition to Spain, Iñaki de Juana and Arturo Beñat Villanueva, as the list of signatories to a petition against the extraditions this week reached more than 1,000.
The petition, which demands that the British government reject the flawed extradition requests, has been signed by people from Ireland, Britain, the Basque Country, Spain and around the world, including elected representatives, human rights campaigners, lawyers, academics and community leaders.
Speaking on behalf of the Don't Extradite the Basques Campaign, spokesperson Kevin Morrison said: “We welcome the growing movement against the extraditions as reflected in the list of petition signatories and the fact that several hundred people have participated in public meetings and fundraisers organised by the Don't Extradite the Basques Campaign in Belfast in recent months."
“The growing support for Iñaki de Juana and Arturo Beñat Villanueva reflects the increasing awareness among the community of the fundamental legal flaws that form the basis of the Spanish authorities' extradition warrants, and of the draconian Spanish 'anti-terror' legislation that they have been brought under," Mr Morrison said.
"These extradition requests must be understood within the context of the Spanish government's escalating campaign against the Basque pro-independence movement, which has criminalised public, peaceful political activities.
"In its effort to prevent the Basque people from exercising their democratic right to self-determination, Spain is breaching several fundamental rights as outlined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression, of peaceful assembly and association, the right to take part in the government of their state and the right not to be subjected to torture or abuse.
“Iñaki de Juana and Arturo ‘Beñat’ Villanueva are clearly being persecuted solely for their political opinions, not for any criminal activity. They will not receive a fair hearing within the Spanish judicial system and face the risk of torture. These extradition requests are politically unacceptable and we are urging all those who support basic civil rights to join us in the campaign against the extraditions.”
The petition demands that the Spanish government respect the fundamental human, civil and political rights of the Basque people as laid out in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and that it ends its campaign of criminalisation against the Basque pro-independence movement.
It supports the human right of Iñaki de Juana and Arturo Beñat Villanueva not to be persecuted by the Spanish government for their political opinions.
The petition calls on the British government to immediately reject the extradition requests and to refuse to collaborate with the Spanish government in this political persecution.
Finally, the petition supports the right of Iñaki de Juana and Arturo Beñat Villanueva to live freely in Ireland.
To sign the petition, go to www.gopetition.com/petitions/dont-extradite-the-basques.html
For more information visit www.dontextraditethebasques.org.
The online petition has been signed by 935 people, while the hard copy of the petition has been signed by a further 70 people. The online petition is available at www.gopetition.com/petitions/dont-extradite-the-basques.html.
* Bairbre de Brún (MEP)
* John Pilger (Britain-based investigative journalist and author)
* Fearghas Ó hÍr (civil rights campaigner, Radio Faílte manager)
* Pádraigín Drinan (Human Rights lawyer)
* Fr Des Wilson (west Belfast priest and community activist)
* Eamonn McCann (NUJ National Executive)
* Paul Maskey (West Belfast MLA)
* Daithí McKay (North Antrim MLA)
* Eoin Ó Broin (author)
* Julen Arzuaga (Behatokia - Basque Observatory of Human Rights)
* Bobby Storey (Chairperson, Belfast Sinn Féin)
* Gerry McConville (Chairperson, Falls Community Council)
* Danny Morrison (author and former Sinn Féin director of publicity)
* Michael Culbert (former Antrim and St Gall’s Football Manager)
* Pól Deeds (Coordinator, An Droichead)
* Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí (RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta presenter)
* Professor Phil Scraton
* Bernadette McAliskey
* Barry McColgan (Ógra Shinn Féin national coordinator)
* Colleen Gildernew (Kevin Winters Solicitors)
* Councillor Chrissie Mhic Giolla Mhín
* Councillor Caoimhín Mac Giolla Mhín
* Councillor Angela Nelson
* Councillor Charlene O'Hara
* Councillor Declan McAleer