Prisoners Month: 90,000 Tortured In Basque Country

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The Euskal Memoria Foundation has counted more than 9,600 cases of torture related to the political conflict in the Basque Country in the last 50 years.

The Euskal Memoria Foundation has collected in a book a massive investigation about torture in the last 50 years of the conflict in the Basque Country. The numerous facts and testimonies covered in the book reflect the extension and profundity of this practice.

This investigation is without a doubt the most comprehensive, documented and current about this subject. The book presented a few days ago is titled “oso latza izan da” (It’s been very hard), the words with which Joxe Arregi expressed to his cellmates slowly, exhausted, before dying after having passed 10 days in a police station and from the treatment he received from the police.

The book deals deeply with the subject of torture from all points of view: what it is, who has done it, how, to whom, when, where, why, for what… It also tries to analyze the political utilization of torture in the context of the Basque conflict. Despite the fact that torture is something individual that every tortured person suffers; in the case of the Basque Country torture acquires a collective dimension. It is used as in instrument of punishment and suffering against Basque dissidence.

That in a country of barely three million people some ten thousand cases of torture have been documented is an indicator of the brutality that has characterized the state in their repression of the Basque independence movement, and the fact that the cases have maintained throughout time an example that the this repression hasn’t changed with regimes or governments. Torture has always been understood by Madrid as one more tool in their policy towards this people.

An example that torture has been a strategy of the state against the Basque Country is to realize that there have only been 19 convictions condemning torture. Altogether, no more than 62 agents of the state’s security forces have been condemned for torturing Basque citizens. And what is even more shameful, more than half of those condemned, a total of 36 have been pardoned by the governments of the PP or the PSOE.

According to the authors, through this book they want to reflect the unknown part of the truth of the conflict. In this case the unending tunnel of torture of which no photos or videos exist, but such pain and suffering that it has caused.

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