Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Arnaldo Otegi walks out of prison

Today, after six years of the most unfair imprisoning, precisely for impelling peace, even unilaterally, Basque independentist leader Arnaldo Otegi finally could walk free.

Video of his exit from Logroño prison:

Before traveling back to his hometown of Elgoibar, he issued a brief but, to my eyes, passionate and hopeful discourse. Video with the Spanish-language version of it:

Translation (boldface is obviously mine):

As the French say, in this occasion "bref",  we will have time to continue talking. 

There are those who claim that there are no political prisoners in the Spanish state, they say it with fruition, some with animosity, but we only need to look at all those cameras that are recording us to confirm that indeed there are political prisoners in the Spanish state. All these cameras are not here when, from this very prison, the social prisoners walk out, all these cameras are not present when immigrants are expelled from these prisons, all these cameras do not exist when humble, when working people are evicted from their homes. That's why we say, for those of us who are Marxist: evidence is what can be contrasted with facts. And fact is that there would not be here all those cameras if they would not know that today, as in many other occasions, a political prisoner walks out from a Spanish prison

More than six years ago, they tried to imprison us and actually got us into prison, for making a bet for peace. And I want to congratulate you all for having kept that bet against all provocations. Indeed peace is the way but, on this way, the bet has to be carried on until the end. And that is what I mean to do with all of you. When we were imprisoned, we went in as Basques and as Basques we come out, as independentists and as independentists we come out, as socialists and as socialists we come out. That is why the only thing I want to tell you to finish, because I know that there's a lot of morbid interest in all this issue, that the best President and the best Mayor: the People. Viva you!

Otegi has been banned from holding public office until 2021, however he will certainly run for Lehendakari (Western Basque President) in the elections to be held by the end of the year. 

Many political prisoners, a growing number of which are, like Otegi, prisoners of conscience, punished for their peaceful political activity and/or opinions, still remain in prison. Maybe the most notorious one is Rafa Díez, former secretary general of the Basque worker union LAB, sentenced in the same case as Otegi, for promoting the abandonment of armed struggle by ETA.

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