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2010/08/10

Basque prisoner Jose Mari Sagardui “Gatza”, the oldest political prisoner in Europe has already spent 30 years in Spanish jails. According to Spanish law he should have been released in 2005. He’s spent most of his life in jail. His home town has seen many demonstrations for his support and even the Basque Autonomous Region’s Parliament has asked for his release.
Since his arrest on the 8th of July 1980 when he was brutally tortured, he has been in 13 different Spanish jails and in total he’s been transfered 34 times. In those 30 years he’s been in prisons in the Basque Country just twice, and only for a very short period.
He is currently being detained in Jaen’s jail, 730 kilometres from his home.
He has been a victim of the different Spanish prison policies including those of the cruel treatment in Carabanchel, the dispersal policy and currently the extreme confinement in Jaen. There is no natural light in his cell, and all his communications and movements are under strict control. He’s kept in isolation for 20 hours per day and under the hardest prison regime.
The Basque pro-amnesty movement has reiterated that despite the Spanish and French states not recognizing the political status of Basque prisoners, the measures they impose upon them are political.
Gatza has numerous obstacles to continue with his university studies and has many obstacles to get medical assistance.
Due to the relentless changes introduced by the Spanish authorities to act against the Basque political prisoners, Gatza has seen his remissions denied. He also saw his sentence modified and increased to 30 years.

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