dijous, 18 de novembre del 2004

FROM www.berria.info (Basque country)

Detainees held incommunicado to facilitate torture
The anti-torture association TAT and the pro-amnesty movement AAM have launched a campaign to secure effective commitments and have appealed to political parties and social players

Aitziber Laskibar – BILBO

“They are tortured, because they are held incommunicado. Furthermore, they are held incommunicado, so that they can be tortured.” Thus affirmed TAT member Aiert Larrarte yesterday during a press conference in Bilbo, in which he was accompanied by the lawyer Jon Enparantza and a number of young people who had been arrested during the last few weeks and who, after complaining that they had been tortured, were released. He pointed out that the young people had been held incommunicado after their arrest during the operation conducted by the Spanish Civil Guard in Bizkaia and that all of them had denounced being subjected to severe torture; he added that “16 people are in incommunicado detention at the moment; just imagine what they are going through right now in the hands of the police”.

The TAT believes that it is vital for effective measures to be implemented, because it is no good waiting until the incommunicado detention is over and then expressing concern when the torture complaints emerge. He announced that over the coming months they would be launching a campaign for this purpose known as the Tolerantzia Zero Protokoloa (Zero Tolerance Protocol). The aim of the initiative will not only be to gather support, but also to seek specific commitments in a bid to stop torture and take effective steps to end bad treatment practices at police stations.

The TAT representative Larrarte explained that the Police, the Spanish National Criminal Court and the PSOE were directly responsible. He said: “When the Spanish Police and Civil Guard arrest someone incommunicado, they know why they are holding them incommunicado and they know that even though someone may complain of bad treatment, no enquiry will be conducted; furthermore they know they will be rewarded.” He added: “When the National Criminal Court, too, permits incommunicado detention, it knows what these police forces will do; the Court allows people to be held incommunicado, so that it can obtain the results it wants.”

In the TAT’s view, the PSOE, too, “knows what happens in these arrests; but that way it achieves the results it is looking for, and so does not take any steps to prevent it”. He pointed out that the Spanish Civil Guard was in the hands of the Socialists, because they were in power in the Spanish Government; that is where the PSOE’s responsibility in cases of torture lies. Nevertheless, this attitude of the PSOE “is not new, because they did the same thing 20 years ago,” he added.

Jon Enparantza, a lawyer and member of the Pro-Amnesty Movement AAM, also spoke of the PSOE’s responsibility. He felt that there was a reason for the current unending stream of torture complaints. “The Spanish armed forces are keen to sabotage the proposals that have been made to resolve [the conflict] in the Basque Country and to hamper any process that might bring about such a resolution,” he said.