The protests in support of the political prisoner Juanra continue
Barcelona 2/14/2003

Last Friday, February 14, about 100 people gathered in front of the Dutch consulate in the city of Barcelona. The protest gathering took place in order to protest against the extradition process that the Dutch state is pursuing against the political prisoner Juanra. The demonstration was at the same time meant to be a protest against the repression of imprisoned Catalan activists who are being persecuted by the Spanish state.

The protest, which was originally meant to be a rally, spontaneously turned into a demonstration through the streets surrounding the consulate. A large banner was carried with the text "No to the extraditions. No to the political trials. Freedom for Juanra.", signed by RESCAT, a collective that engages itself for political prisoners (specifically in Catalonia). Other slogans were also shouted against the extradition, against the torture of political prisoners, for the liberation of political prisoners and for international solidarity.

The demonstration ended at the door of the consulate, where a communiqué was read expressing support for Catalan political prisoners, in which the push from right-wing Spain to violate and limit even further the rights of political prisoners was criticised. A copy of it was handed to the Dutch consul. The demonstration dissipated in front of the consulate door.

Juanra was arrested 400 days ago

As of February 20, it was 400 days ago that Juanra was arrested. He was arrested in the Dutch city of Amsterdam, on account of an international search and arrest warrant written by the Spanish state, which had been initiated by the [Madrid] 'superjudge' Baltasar Garzón. The operation took place in the context of the European justitial cooperation unit 'Eurojust'.

It has been 400 days that Juanra has been unable to exercise his right to the presumption of innocence [until guilt is proven], and all that time, a looming extradition and a charge of cooperation with an armed gang have been hanging over his head. This while no direct evidence against him has been submitted to the Dutch authorities. The Dutch state's procedure against Juanra, which is constantly under pressure from the Spanish authorities, goes on, even though there still remain many unanswered questions.

At the moment, Juanra is in the extra high security prison in Vught (in the south of the Netherlands), waiting for the verdict in the appeals case that he brought agains the decision of the Amsterdam district court to declare his extradition permissible. That verdict from the Supreme Court is expected this coming March 11.