London, Düsseldorf, Farciennes 21 July 2014
The European Lawyers Associations AED and ELDH have received information concerning several situations of grave concern in relation with the pressure and persecution Basque lawyers are suffering.
First, we express our concern over the arrest and imprisonment of the three Basque lawyers Jon Enparantza, Arantza Zulueta and Jose Campo, arrested six months ago who still remain under preventive detention since then. The restrictive security measures to which they are subjected involve a high degree of isolation.
The cases of Arantza Zulueta and Jon Enparantza cause particular concern. In the case of Zulueta, she is suffering a situation of extreme isolation in the prison Puerto III, 980 km far away from the Basque Country, and living a lifestyle that is not compatible with her rights1. These conditions threaten her physical and mental integrity. She has not been convicted and this is incompatible with the presumption of innocence. Jon Enparantza is exactly under the same situation in the prison of Segovia, 410 km away from Donostia, where he lives with his family.
Second, we express our concern concerning the information recently leaked to the media, which could be considered to be part of an operation against a specific group of lawyers. Without having any news other than that leaked to the media, we are led to believe that the conditions described are not compatible with the exercise the right to a defence.
The routine she is facing at present is as follows: since entering in prison she has been in the isolation module, alone, with no contact with any other prisoner. Now she is in a special isolation module withe no human contact, she has 4 hours in the yard which measures 15 x 5 steps in the morning or in the afternoon, at the discretion of the prison officers.
She is subjected to daily personal body searches on going to the yard, and often while in the yard, her cell is turned upside down, and she can receive phone calls only when prison officers arbitrarily decide and they remain in her presence. This situation is quite irregular and contrary to the regime officially applied to prisoners.
In the cell she is only allowed to have two books and some clothes. All her belongings are retained by the authorities and even the letters received must be returned, once read, to be stored with the rest of her retained belongings. All her letters are intercepted, both incoming letters that take about two weeks to arrive, and her own letters, in addition to having the number of letters that can be sent reduced to two people, per week.
We therefore declare:
First. The fact that our lawyers colleagues have been arbitrarily detained must be admitted, and their right to physical and mental integrity should be safeguarded.
Second. These lawyers should be released from custody in accordance with international standards. Their release is urgent, because the lawyers are suffering a particularly severe isolation regime, away from their homes and away from their families, and the presumption of innocence to which they are entitled is being violated.
Therefore, we demand their immediate release awaiting prosecution and trial. The full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom should be restored to them, in particular, those corresponding their capacity as lawyers and human rights defenders.
Third. Their prosecution before a special court (Audiencia Nacional) should be terminated, and the use of special courts for the suppression of terrorism is not justified.
Fourth. The Spanish State should instruct the Guardia Civil that police operations based only on exceptional reports such as those which have led to the detention of these three lawyers must end.
Fifth The right of full and adequate defence must be guaranteed, to be exercised freely and without any pressure or constant threats.
ELDH – European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights, Platanenstraße 13, 40233 Düsseldorf, Germany, www.eldh.eu
EDL – European Democratic Lawyers, Rue Albert Ier, 236, 6240 Farciennes, Belgium, http://www.aeud.org/