The Hearing refuses to prohibit acts in support of ETA prisoners in Mondragón and Pamplona | Spain

Joseba Azkarraga, spokesperson for the Sare network to support ETA prisoners, at a press conference this Thursday.
Joseba Azkarraga, spokesperson for the Sare network to support ETA prisoners, at a press conference this Thursday.David Aguilar (EFE)

The National Court has maintained the line set by recent jurisprudence and this Thursday it has refused to prohibit the concentrations in support of ETA prisoners convened for this Friday, December 31, in Mondragón (Gipuzkoa) and Pamplona (Navarra). Two victims’ associations had requested to prevent these acts, considering that they constitute alleged crimes of glorifying terrorism and humiliating the victims. But the investigating magistrate José Luis Calama, in line with the Prosecutor’s Office, concludes that criminal proceedings cannot be used preventively to restrict fundamental rights on “the basis of mere hypotheses about the future and uncertain commission of crimes.”

Throughout two resolutions, the judge reviews the content of the police reports prepared on both demonstrations, promoted by Sare, a group that supports inmates of the terrorist gang. In his writings, Calama insists that there are not “sufficient elements or important indications” to appreciate the crimes reported, so he cannot adopt any precautionary measure to prevent fundamental rights. “We are thus faced with a call for the expression of opinions that disturb or shock various sectors of society, [pero] that, according to jurisprudence, there is no place ex ante [antes del suceso] in the criminal sphere ”, he emphasizes.

Sare maintains that the two calls are not intended to “honor” ETA inmates, but “to denounce the exceptional prison policy that is applied to them.” However, victims’ associations consider this argument a mere excuse. In fact, the Colectivo de Víctimas del Terrorismo (Covite) denounced on Monday that Sare promoted the Mondragón march with a tweet with the names of three members of the gang linked to the town: inmate Henri Parot, convicted of 39 murders; José Manuel Pagoaga Gallastegi; and Eugenio Barrutiabengoa, a fugitive from justice in Venezuela. In addition, the Sortu group in the municipality, a party led by Arnaldo Otegi and integrated into EH Bildu, also called to join the events with messages on social networks with Parot’s photo.

Despite this, according to the line marked by the Supreme Court, Judge Calama affirms that he does not have sufficient evidence to take a measure of such caliber as the prohibition of a fundamental right in a preventive manner. “The elements that we have at this time show that it is the expression of a desire to bring prisoners closer to the prisons of the Basque Country, without entering into the justification or praise of the actions for which they are deprived freedom, conduct protected by the right to free expression in the field of criminal procedure, “he explains in his resolution, where he urges the Security Forces and government authorities to control the concentrations in case, during their development, the mentioned crimes.

The magistrate adds: “The criminal jurisdiction is only responsible for the prosecution and punishment of criminal offenses once they have occurred. Act ex post, no ex ante, since it lacks preventive powers. In other words, it cannot act preventively, since such a procedure implies associating limiting legal consequences of rights or directly or indirectly imposing sanctions on the basis of mere hypotheses about the future and uncertain commission of crimes ”. The Prosecutor’s Office reiterates the same: “What is intended is that a judicial decision prevents a future, imprecise and uncertain event, thus giving rise to a kind of anticipatory and preventive criminal procedural incident. […]. In this way, the nature of the criminal procedure is altered, which requires the prior existence of a specific crime, perpetrated by specific persons ”.

Even so, and despite the fact that the public prosecutor’s office and the National Court have held the same position for years, the opposition has taken the opportunity to charge against the Government. Carmelo Barrio, spokesperson for the PP + Cs Group in the Basque Parliament, has stated that “Sánchez and Urkullu have made so much effort to whitewash Bildu and Otegi that even the Prosecutor’s Office blesses the demonstrations by the prisoners without demanding repentance or conviction for crimes.” “The Government assumes that of the prisoners to the street and the victims to the cemetery,” he tweeted.

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Sortu’s official social media accounts have stopped promoting the Mondragón demonstration. A few days ago, they still echoed the call and called for participation with a variation on the poster. Sortu Arrasate incorporated the photograph of ETA Parot, to mobilize its affiliates and followers. Covite has denounced it. Sortu, who officially seconded the request of the ETA inmate collective that no more public tributes be made to the terrorists who leave prison, has gone further than the convener Sare with the dissemination of that image. Although, officially, Sortu maintains the position that he made public when Mikel Antza went to testify last week in the San Sebastián courts for his alleged participation in the murder of Gregorio Ordóñez in 1995: “No one’s crimes were applauded.” “In Mondragon we will denounce the prison policy,” they repeat.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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