October 7 2003

Court misses last chance to administer justice

The district court decided today to extradite Juanra to the Spanish authorities. For a year and a half, Juanra has been in the Netherlands fighting his extradition.

This past September 24, Juanra's attorney, Victor Koppe, petitioned the district court at The Hague for a ban on extradition. Justice Minister Donner had previously ignored the increase in torture of ETA suspects in Spain as well as a piece of advice from the Amsterdam district court. The danger is therefore still looming that Juanra will fall prey to violence upon his extradition to Spain.

Juanra is an activist from Barcelona who stands accused of involvement with the ETA. The accusations were never backed up by the Spanish authorities. The only fact they could come up with is a statement made under conditions of torture, which was then retracted immediately afterwards.

For years, the Spanish state has been on an enormous offensive against political opposition there and will stop at nothing to silence it. We are convinced that Spain deliberately set up the charges in order to create a link between social movements and the ETA, with the goal of undermining the broad support for these movements. Under these conditions, it is impossible for Juanra to get a fair trial in light of his political activities.

From Juanra's story, it would yet again appear that the Dutch state finds political interests and a good relationship among the EU member states to be more important than the protection of civil rights. We have repeatedly petitioned with meters of paper in which it becomes clear how ridiculous this case is and that Spain is continually contradicting itself in order to get its hands on Juanra. Yet the political parties, even the most left-wing among them, have not responded. Apparently the Netherlands too is letting itself be ensnared in Spain's criminalisation campaign. If the word ETA is so much as mentioned, people do not even take the time and effort to seriously examine the case. Especially politicians do not want to get burned by politically sensitive issues.

The courts, ministry of justice and all the political parties of the Netherlands have turned a deaf ear to the hard facts of this case for more than a year and a half now. All of the information from Spain is accepted and even justified without question. Now that all of the available measures in the Netherlands have been exhausted, Juanra will be extradited to Spain and the Netherlands will become complicit in torture and political repression in Spain.

The so-called war on terrorism is more and more transforming into state terror. Fundamental human rights and the rule of law are being pushed aside; the answer to social tension is repression and blatant racism.

Our answer to this can only be to continue with the struggle for a just and humane world. We will need each other more than ever, and it is unfortunately certain that Juanra will not be the last political prisoner.

Write to Juanra:
Juan Ramón Rodríguez Fernández
PI Amsterdam
Locatie Demersluis
Postadres: Postbus 41901
1009 CE Amsterdam
The Netherlands