New Events


no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link China?s LGBT Community Mon Apr 15, 2019 19:19 | Human Rights

offsite link Declaration of Human Rights at Sea Mon Apr 08, 2019 07:31 | Human Rights

offsite link NZ Watchdog On Limits Of Free Speech Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:44 | Human Rights

offsite link US Abortion Restrictions Violating The Human Rights Of Women Thu Mar 14, 2019 15:33 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Watch Urges the Human Rights Council to Renew and Strengthen Mandate of UN Commission Tue Mar 12, 2019 21:51 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link Christy Moore unveiled a plaque to Frank Conroy 15:05 Wed Jun 26, 2019 | irishelectionliterature

offsite link Near infinite self-regard and self-importance 11:46 Wed Jun 26, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link I guess Ireland is just collateral damage? 11:08 Wed Jun 26, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Even Johnson has to accept: no transition period without the EU?s agreement? 08:07 Wed Jun 26, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link What you want to say ? 26 June 2019 05:26 Wed Jun 26, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link Some Thoughts on the Brexit Joint Report 11:50 Sat Dec 09, 2017


offsite link Notes for a Book on Money and the Irish State - The Marshall Aid Program 15:10 Sat Apr 02, 2016

offsite link The Financial Crisis:What Have We Learnt? 19:58 Sat Aug 29, 2015

offsite link Money in 35,000 Words or Less 21:34 Sat Aug 22, 2015

Dublin Opinion >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Test ? 12 November 2018 Mon Nov 12, 2018 14:28 | namawinelake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

Report from Iñaki de Juana's extradition hearing

category antrim | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Thursday November 19, 2009 18:53author by Emma Clancy - Don't Extradite the Basques Campaign Report this post to the editors

'Charges spurious and absurd' defence says

A report from Iñaki de Juana's extradition hearing which was held in Belfast last week, during which the defence argued that the extradition attempt was an abuse of process and would be 'grossly inhumane'.

As Iñaki de Juana’a two-day extradition hearing began in Belfast on November 12, supporters rallied in a demonstration called by the Don’t Extradite the Basques Campaign.

Michael Culbert, director of the ex-prisoners’ group Coiste na n-Iarchimí, addressed the supporters, who included republican ex-prisoners, local Sinn Féin councillors, members of Belfast’s Basque community and others.

“The case against Iñaki is motivated by vindictiveness on the part of the Spanish government despite the fact that there is no evidence against him. The charges are spurious and absurd,” Culbert said at the rally.

The Spanish authorities are trying to extradite the former prisoner and hunger-striker, who served 21 years in Spanish jails, from Belfast, where he moved immediately after his release in August last year, on charges of “glorifying terrorism”.

The arrest warrant is based on a single media report of somebody at a rally in Donostia/San Sebastian last August, which was celebrating de Juana’s release from prison, reading a letter that used the popular Basque expression “Aurrera bolie” (“Kick the ball forward”). The Spanish authorities claim this phrase constitutes a call for the continuation of armed struggle.

De Juana was not present at this rally and denies writing such a letter, which Spanish police admit they cannot produce.

*Abuse of process

Judge Tom Burgess ruled in March that “glorifying terrorism” was an extraditable offence that had an equivalent under the British Terrorism Act 2006. He said that he did not have to study the quality of the evidence against de Juana, as that was a matter for the Spanish courts.

The defence team in last week’s hearing argued two main points: that the Spanish authorities were knowingly abusing the extradition process, and that extradition would cause a disproportionate threat to de Juana’s health.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, defending, said he believed the Spanish authorities were abusing the extradition process because they knew they did not have any evidence against de Juana, and that the case was politically motivated.

He explained that while the defence had repeatedly requested the case files of evidence against his client, the Spanish authorities had refused to provide any such information or respond to the requests.

Referring to an article published in the pro-Spanish daily newspaper El Pais, which said the prosecution’s case against de Juana “was like trying to build the Titanic with toothpicks”, Fitzgerald said the description was accurate.

“This is an absurdity, but the fact it’s an absurdity doesn’t make it harmless. It makes it dangerous given the consequences,” he said.

The defence also pointed out that the involvement of the Spanish Association of Victims of Terrorism organisation in all stages of the case against de Juana, –from urging it to be launched, to working closely with the prosecution and continuing to monitor the case – reflected the lack of independence on the part of the prosecution.

While the judge had ruled in March that it was not his role to examine the evidence against de Juana, the defence argued that the total lack of evidence of a crime from the prosecution was itself evidence that the charges were politically motivated.

‘Grossly inhumane’

Senior university lecturer at Cambridge University, Dr Adrian Grounds, an expert on the impact of imprisonment on the psychological health of detainees, testified that in his independent opinion, de Juana would face a very serious deterioration in his health and likely, if not certain, death through hunger strike if he was extradited.

Dr Grounds, who had interviewed de Juana for eight hours, said that de Juana’s previous experiences in Spanish prisons had been extremely traumatic and that while he was “a very strong, ideologically committed and resilient person”, his prison experience had left him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and absolute exhaustion.

De Juana was subjected to repeated beatings while in jail, and Dr Grounds cited the abuses carried out against Basque political prisoners documented by the UN’s Committee on the Prevention of Torture as well as reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

He was held in solitary confinement for more than 17 years of his total 21 years in jail. When protesting against attempts to lengthen his term after he had completed his 19-year sentence, de Juana endured first a 63-day hunger strike and then a 115-day strike during which he was force-fed while shackled to his hospital bed.

Dr Grounds said that to return him to the Spanish prison system would very likely result in de Juana going on a hunger strike to the death. He said that in his opinion, this would partly be a political act of protest, but it would also reflect de Juana’s inability to return to the conditions that had caused his exhaustion and PTSD.

Fitzgerald said: “Would it now be inhumane to put him back in custody on the basis of what someone says someone read out at a rally though no-one has the document? We say it's grossly disproportionate and inhumane to do that.”

Related Link:
© 2001-2019 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy