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Inaki Irazabalbeitia

Former MEP, Aralar

The Spanish authorities have prevented the EFA MEPs from visiting Arnaldo Otegi

Jul 18, 2013

Françoise Alfonsi, Marc Demesmaeker and Tatiana Danofka EFA members of the European Parliament, together with the also EP member and Aralar representative Iñaki Irazabalbeitia and the Eusko Alkartasuna representative Lorena López de la Calle, went to Logroño to visit the Basque political prisoner Arnaldo Otegi.

The ALE representatives consider that the imprisonment of Arnaldo Otegi, sentenced to 6 1/2 years in jail and in prison for 4 years already is a “democratic scandal”. “The facts held against him, the leading role he carries out in the Basque left-wing nationalism, represent an opinion crime and an attack against freedom of expression. The accusation of terrorism is also unacceptable since the political forces leaded by Mr. Otegi from prison, are currently represented in the Basque Parliament with more than 20% of the votes and in Madrid with representatives in the State Congress and Senate”.

The enormity of the sentence questions the European democracy, and the guarantees of freedom of expression and political freedom that the European Union needs to provide each and every one of its citizens with. Mr. Otegi invited the representatives of ALE to visit him but the Spanish authorities prevented them from entering the complex. “We condemn what we understand is a clear obstruction to the democratic rights and the lack of the assistance each EU state member must provide every MEP with in their period of office”.

The ALE group MEPs demand Arnaldo Otegi to be released immediately. “His release is essential so that the Basque Country builds, 15 years after Ireland, his own peace process. It is essential to the Basque Country, Spain, France and Europe itself”.

The Spanish authorities have prevented the EFA MEPs from visiting Arnaldo Otegi

Basque political representatives (including some of Aralar) demanding the freedom of Arnaldo Otegi and other politicians