Free Iosu Uribetxeberria! Free All Basque Political Prisoners

We in SELDA (organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines), KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights in the Philippines and the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP) – all member organizations of the International League of People’s Struggle in the Philippine -- strongly support the call to release Basque political prisoner Iosu Uribetxeberria and all other Basque political prisoners. 

The continued detention of Uribetxeberria, who is suffering from terminal cancer, is inhumane and violates his basic human rights. 

We call on the Spanish government to grant Uribetxeberria’s call for freedom, under Article 92 of the Spanish Penal Law where it is stated that prisoners suffering from serious illnesses may be released from jail. We likewise support the call to free 14 other Basque political prisoners who are suffering from inhumane treatment due to the extreme conditions inside jail. 

Uribetzeberria should be freed not only because he is very ill. He should be freed because being imprisoned due to one’s political beliefs is never justified. 

We share the pains of being imprisoned and constantly denied of our rights. In the Philippines, there are currently more than 385 political prisoners. A significant number of these Filipino political prisoners are elderly and sick. The current Aquino government has continuously denied the existence of political prisoners, resorting to the criminalization of political offenses to cover up repression against the people. 

The existence of political prisoners anywhere in the world is a violation of international human rights treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which codifies the right to liberty and security of a person regardless of his or her political beliefs. The worse conditions inside jails and the maltreatment of political prisoners including physical and mental or psychological torture is likewise a serious violation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of the United Nations (UN). Uribetzeberria’s case in fact merits the attention and action of special procedures/mandate holders, treaty bodies and the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. 

In many parts of the world, there exist hundreds and thousands of political prisoners, some remain undocumented to date. In Turkey, Kurdistan, Colombia, and even in the United States (US), as in the rest of the nations whose peoples do not allow themselves to be silenced by these autocratic and tyrannical regimes, the existence of political prisoners are living proof of the sham bastardization of their own states’ concepts of democracy.  Political prisoners exist in countries where there are protests, resistance and liberation movements against shamelessly corrupt and anti-people regimes, wanton suppression of the people’s civil and political rights, relentless attacks against the economic and socio-cultural rights of the peoples, and intervention in the country’s affairs by imperialist countries especially by the US. Increasingly vicious attacks on the basic rights of the people are more imminent especially because of the ever worsening crisis of global capitalism, which exacerbates the already rotten domestic ruling systems especially in poor nations. 

This situation clearly shows that to fight for one’s rights, to stand up for the rights of the marginalized and the oppressed is a necessity. We call on all human rights advocates, former political prisoners all over the world, and the civil libertarians to support the call to free Uribetzeberria and all Basque political prisoners. ###