The EFA Bureau meeting on the 3rd of March had the pleasure to welcome representatives of Etxerat (“Home” in Basque), an organization founded by family members and friends of the Basque political prisoners, exiles and deportees. Currently, 455 of them are serving long sentences in distant prisons situated in Spain and France, even in England and Germany.
In practical terms, this means an immense torture for the families and friends who are obliged to travel for thousands of kilometers just for a couple of hours with their loved ones. And this continues to happen despite the fact that the Spanish Penal Code foresees inmates “to serve their sentences in the nearest prison to their birthplace in order to avoid family and social uprooting”.
Ana Serna from Etxerat presented to EFA this incredible inhumane situation: “This dispersion policy is implemented only and exclusively against the Basque political prisoners and their families, torturing them physically and emotionally. The Spanish Prime Minister even had the nerve to say in the Parliament that there is no need to change the dispersion regime and that it is good (!) for the prisoners.”
She added that over the past 25 years, 16 family members and friends were killed on various traffic accidents while travelling to visit an imprisoned relative. “It has happened many times that I’d travel a thousand kilometers with my children to visit my imprisoned husband but due to traffic jams or delays we’d miss the visiting hours and return back home empty-handed. Can you imagine what this feels like?”
EFA joins its voice with Etxerat and calls upon the Spanish and French governments to immediately terminate the inhumane and discriminatory policy of dispersion, which violates the core of human rights a prisoner, relatives and friends should enjoy. In this respect, EFA will raise and highlight the issue within the European Parliament and other EU & international institutions.
Stop the shameful dispersion policy now!
For more information please visit: www.etxerat.eus