INTRODUCTION: Spain's Basque Revolutionary Party, the EIA, held a rally on Saturday (2 April) to celebrate the release of more political prisoners the previous day.
INTRODUCTION: Spain's Basque Revolutionary Party, the EIA, held a rally on Saturday (2 April) to celebrate the release of more political prisoners the previous day. Several hundred prisoners have been released recently from Spanish jails following a general call for amnesty for political detainees.
SYNOPSIS: The meeting was held in the town of Gallarta, about 12 miles (19 kilometres) form Bilbao, the unofficial Basque capital. About 4,000 people took part in the rally, including Basque delegates from various other parts of the country. Although the majority of the audience were young people, mothers of Basques killed under the Franco regime were also present.
Senhor Goyo Lopez, leader of the party, Called for further backing of the Basque cause, and demanded the release of even more Basque prisoners.
The day before, Spanish authorities released a Basque prisoner condemned to death in 1969 for ordering a bomb explosion. The prisoner, whose sentence was later commuted to 30 years in prison, was the first man who had been sentenced to death to be freed under the amnesty.
Senhor Paco Letamendia, a prominent attorney, who has defended and fought for the release of many Basques, also attended the meeting. Nine other Basque political prisoners were also released, bringing the total to 59. Eighty-Two others have also been granted amnesty but are still being held on other charges. Nearly fifteen-hundred prisoners in all have been freed. Although only a small fraction of the released prisoners are Basques, the move has ben met with enthusiasm., The amnesty was aimed at preparing the way for general elections in May, the first democratic vote in the country for more than 40 years.