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Concern at arrest of Pernando Barrena

4 February, 2008

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has expressed concern at the arrest of Pernando Barrena today and ongoing restrictions placed on Basque parties.

Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Féin has argued the need to revive the Basque Peace Process. The banning of Batasuna and jailing of political representatives including democratically elected representatives is an impediment to this.

"We are now concerned that the Spanish administration has begun the process of banning two other parties, EHAK and ANV. This will further impede any search for forward progress, which requires that every effort be made to improve and encourage dialogue between all of the parties in the Basque County and the Spanish government.

"Central to this is the rights of voters to have access to parties and political representatives of their choice.

"Pernando has been a frequent guest to the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis and a vocal advocate of the need to advance a Basque Peace Process and I am very concerned at news of his arrest today. It is clear that political resolution is required. It is clear that the methods used to date will not secure that. A Peace Process is required." ENDS

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