Release Arnaldo Otegi – MacLochlainn
Speaking from Leinster House today, Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Pádraig MacLochlainn called for the release of Basque Nationalist leader Arnaldo Otegi saying his continued imprisonment is a detrimental obstacle to peace-building in the Basque country.
Deputy MacLochlainn said:
“Arnaldo Otegi’s continued imprisonment is doing nothing to move the Basque political process forward. It is, rather, a detrimental obstacle to the building of a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the region.
“Mr Otegi, who was arrested and imprisoned in October 2009, is a widely respected political figure with a clear and significant political mandate as leader of the Basque political party Sortu; a party which is committed exclusively to political and democratic means. Sortu stood in the recent elections in the Basque Country and received 20% of the vote, less than a percentage point behind PNV. It also had 123 Mayors elected.
“Arnaldo Otegi is currently in prison in the Basque Country and is due to go on trial in late June or early July. His continued imprisonment only makes the process of building a peace process in the Basque Country more difficult.
“I am calling on the Spanish Government to immediately release Mr. Otegi and to lift the ban on the Sortu political party. Mr Otegi’s release must be part of a permanent resolution to the Basque conflict.” ENDS