Barcelona 4 update (17/3/08)

On the 4th of February 2006 in Barcelona, 9 people were arbitrarily and violently arrested by the police whilst on their way home. 3 people – Rodrigo Lanza Huidobro, Juan Pintos Garrido, Alex Cisternas Amestica – all of whom are of South American descent, have been held in custody for over two years and have now been sentenced. On the night of the arrests, police had been harassing a (non political) occupied house hosting commercial parties, and beat several people. In the chaos objects were thrown from the balconies of the house, severely injuring one of the policemen. Those that were arrested, however, had only just approached from the street and had not been in the house – two people even were arrested far from the area, at the hospital where they had been seeking treatment for bike accidents.
The arrests were all clearly motivated by racism and discrimination against the squatting culture in the city.The mistreatment continued in the cells, with beatings and injuries, including two broken arms. The official explanation for the arrests changed over time from injuring a policeman with a flowerpot to stone throwing. Despite an obvious lack of evidence and conflicting accounts from police, as well as criticisms from international human rights advocates, all defendants have now, after two years, been sentenced – Rodrigo received a sentence of 4.5 years, plus a 900.000 euro fine, Alex and Juan got sentences of 3.5 years each, and the remaining six received sentences of between 1 and 3 years. The headline from the Santiago news was ‘”Arbitrariness and Xenophobia Have Triumphed Over Justice”. All are currently out of prison on provisional liberty, and are appealing the conviction. We urge anyone who can see the discrimination and harassment inherent in this trial to find out more and support these appeals.
Protest letters/emails can be written to:
Generalitat (gov’t of Catalunya), 00 34 902 400 012President Jose Montilla, http://www10.gencat.net/president/AppJava/cat/contacte.jsp (web form)Vice President Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira, vicepresident@gencat.catMinister of the Interior (and police chief) Joan Saura, consellersaura@gencat.catMayor of Barcelona Jordi Hereu, http://www.bcn.es/alcalde/ca/contacte.htm (web form), 93 402 70 00
More info at: http://www.karcelona.revolt.org/

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~ by cardiffabc on March 18, 2008.

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