Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Xabier Beortegi tells how the Guardia Civil tortured him

Xabier Beortegi was the only member of watchdog site that was set free after being tortured by Spanish police. His change of mind, not ratifying the police declaration before the judge, after being tortured and brainwashed for 85 hours, may be why he is now free, unlike most of his comrades.

From the press conference as reported by Gara:

It has bee the experience most to the edge of my whole life and I just hope that this happens to nobody else ever. We cannot allow such a gang of psychopaths to be at large doing whatever they want.

After the preliminary arrest phase, when the treatment was "correct", he was given away to a distinct group of policemen who told him that they were a special group, adding:

Until now it has all been laughter but now the nightmare begins.

He was under the custody of this special group of policemen in all the journey to Madrid. He does not even know how long they took to bring him to Madrid.

It must take some 5 hours but for me it was eternal, it could have been 24 hours, I do not know.
In the transportation he was beaten and abused sexually:

They were obsessed with the testicles and touching but they also beat me on the head. 

Upon arrival he could not stand and had to be carried by several of his torturers. He was sent to the dungeon, the hole, kept in total obscurity and silence with the help of a blindfold. Now and then he got him for interrogation:

It was continuous beatings on the head. And they forced me to remain in squatting position until extenuation; then, when I could not even breath anymore, they placed a bag on my head. All this was continuous.


Eventually a moment came when I said: alright, I will cooperate, I will do what you want, I will say that I killed Manolete [a famous bullfighter who died in action, Spanish expression implying self-accusing beyond what can be believed]. Then the written questions and answers showed up. I had a whole evening to learn them. You accuse yourself, you accuse others, whatever... Then they send you back to the hole and things get calm for a while. Then they came and said: alright, this is easy, now ratify this before the judge and you will get out free. 

Right then I assumed it was that way. But in the last moment I decided that no way: that I was going to tell the truth to the judge. 

Unlike his colleagues, he was set free. Never trust a Guardia Civil.

Members of Torturaren Aurkako Taldea (TAT, Team Against Torture) also took part in the press conference. They denounced the attitude of super-judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska who is obviously helping and protecting torture and unbelievable self-accusations, even ignoring the denunciation by state appointed defense lawyers and sending victims of torture to prison on nothing but forced confessions.

They also denounced that, while the Basque People is taking solid steps in favor of peace and democracy, the Spanish and French states are responding with arrests and tortures.

Also US watchdog Human Rights Watch denounced yesterday that Spain has rejected the recommendations made by this organization in order to prevent torture, which included the suppression of the incommunication regime.

Video of the press conference (in Spanish):

Thanks to Ateak Ireki (open the doors), a new Navarrese watchdog site, created by journalists, that is paying particular attention to this persecution.

Related (background) posts: here, here, here, here and here.

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