Sinn Féin MLA, Pat Sheehan, has called on the Spanish Government to show humanitarian compassion in the case of terminally ill Basque political prisoner, Iosu Uribetxeberria. Mr Urietxeberria was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 and has now embarked on a hunger strike to highlight his case.
Mr Sheehan said:
"For some time Basques have been involved in a process aimed at bringing about an entirely peaceful resolution to the Basque conflict. Peaceful conditions and a permanent ceasefire by the Basque organisation ETA have been secured. These are significant steps.
"Large numbers of Basque prisoners are held in Spanish and French prisons. Iosu Uribetxeberria was diagnosed in 2005 with cancer in both the lungs and brain. He is terminally ill. Spanish law allows for terminally ill prisoners to be released on compassionate grounds. Yet the Spanish government have refused to move in this case.
"Mr Uribetxeberria has now embarked on a hunger strike to highlight his case. It is crucial that the Spanish government show some basic humanitarian compassion in this case and move to release this man into the care of his family."
Note to editors:
In October 2011 a conference was held in Donostia, San Sebastian, entitled 'International conference to promote the resolution of the conflict in the Basque country'. The event was organised by a range of groups including the Basque Citizen Network for Agreement and Consultation, Lokarri, Contact Group (GIC) led by South African lawyer Brian Currin and four other foundations.
The international participants who contributed to this conference were; Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan; former Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern; Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams; former Chief of Staff to Tony Blair, Jonathan Powell; former French Defence and Interior Minister, Pierre Joxe; and Gro Harland Bruntland, a former Norwegian Prime Minister.
Their role was to speak on the process of conflict resolution, it's difficulties and hopes and to agree a 'Declaration' which would set out their view of how the process of peace in the Basque country could be advanced.