The exception policy applied for more than 30 years against Basque prisoners is coming to a dizzying end, marked by the actions of those who seek to keep those penitentiary measures active. Almost eleven years after the definitive cessation of violence, the Etxerat associationmade up of relatives of prisoners, warns about the existence of a network that tries to stop any progress.
The latest approaches of prisoners to Basque prisons, decreed by Penitentiary Institutions within the framework of the application of ordinary legality, have once again aroused furious attacks from the right and far right – PP and Vox have coincided in their attacks on the minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska–, as well as some associations of ETA victims and even police associations related to the extreme right.
“There’s a lobby lobbying to hinder a change in prison policy that should have happened a long time ago. They want to hinder or pressure to delay that change or even prevent it from happening,” says Gorka Garciageneral coordinator of Etxerat.
Xochitl Karasatorrespokesperson for this association, warns for his part that these approaches “they are not benefits, but rights”. “All prisoners have the right to be in the place closest to their family, but this has been denied to prisoners for more than 30 years for political reasons,” he stressed.
The existence of that lobby has also been denounced by the Social Forum, an organization that works to consolidate the new scenario of peace in Euskadi. “The obstructionist position of certain judges of the National audience and the lobby that supports them is leading to a train wreck, increasingly evident, between two ways of conceiving prison policy”, they affirm Agus Hernan Y Nazario Oleaga in an article published in South wind.
Both representatives of the Social Forum place, on the one hand, “the punitive vision of judges of the National High Court” and, on the other, the commitment to “reintegration policies, promoted by the Basque Government and supported by 91% of the Basque Parliament”.
According to data from Etxerat, today there are 180 prisoners -26 women and 154 men- framed in the EPPK (Collective of Basque Political Prisoners)of which 134 are in prisons in the Basque Autonomous Community and Navarra, 31 in prisons in the Spanish State and another 15 in French prisons.
There are currently 47 prisoners who have already served three quarters of their sentence and, therefore, “They could already be on parole.” Also, most of the prisoners are in second grade: so far only 28 have accessed third grade and there are five unclassified.
“We claim that stop applying the policy of exceptionality against our relatives, in such a way that they can have access to penitentiary rights such as grade progressions, exit permits or parole. That is what from some sectors is trying to hinderGarcia added.