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Crowe meets delegation from the Basque Country

3 October, 2013 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Seán Crowe TD, met with Basque Senator Urko Aiartza Azurtza, and two political activist colleagues from the Basque Country, to discuss the increasingly aggressive attacks by the Spanish state on Basque political activists, including police raids on human rights groups and NGOs.
The delegation held numerous meeting during their visit. They met with Sinn Féin TDs and Senators, Sinn Féin members in Dublin, members of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee. They also travelled to Belfast for cross-party meetings with MLAs and other Sinn Féin organised meetings.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“I want to thank Urko and his two colleagues for coming to Ireland to brief Sinn Féin members and politicians.
“The actions of elements of the Spanish state are undermining the peace process in the Basque Country, and we share their concerns and outrage at these actions.
“This month, two political trials against 76 members of the Abertzale Left will start in the Spanish National Court. The charges against these activists for their political work and the determination of the Spanish state to continue with the political trials, is a clear sign that some in positions of authority want to move backwards and undermine the peace process.
“Last Monday the Spanish police arrested 18 members of Herrira, the Basque prisoners’ support group, which has played an important role in defending the human rights of Basque prisoners and in promoting a peaceful resolution of the conflict. There is cross-party outrage there at these arrests.
“Yet the Spanish state has arrested these 18 campaigners on the ludicrous grounds that ETA also supports prisoners’ rights.
“It is evident that powerful elements of the Spanish state don’t want the peace process to work and are trying to ensure its destruction with harsher laws and arbitrary political arrests.
“The Spanish state must release these activists, show some indication that it is committed to peace and democracy and that it will respect human and political rights.
“Ireland and the EU cannot stand idly by while the peace process is being undermined by arrests and a political paralysis that is preventing new initiatives.”

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