Eduardo Garcia, imprisoned since November, is facing up to 20 years in prison in Spain on charges of terrorism. An active anarchist in Madrid, he has been very much involved in anti prison struggles. His frequent visits to prisoners helped to facilitate communication among prisoners, which is necessary for the development of concerted struggle, as well as communication between the struggles in the prisons and those in the streets. With the growth of the struggles inside the prisons, the authorities feel the need to cut off such communication. Eduardo’s arrest is one attempt to do just that.
Eduardo is accused of sending letter bombs to six journalists known for attacking prison struggles and one politician. The following facts indicate that this is a frame-up: 1) The “proofs” offered for the charges are his relationships with “dangerous” anarchist prisoners and 40 grams of firework powder that was supposedly found at his parents’ house, but witnesses of the search say that there was no powder, and a video recording of the search (that was conveniently lost by the cops) apparently did not show any powder being found. 2) His public activity would make such apparently clandestine activity impossible.
3) After his capture, four more bombs of the same sort have appeared. The press, playing its role as servant of the state, launched a campaign against squats and against the anarchist and autonomous movement with the clear intent of building public support for state repression.
Estafania, who was originally arrested with Eduardo, though released, is still facing charges of conspiracy with regard to the bombings, and other charges as well. A third person is also being sought by the police, but has evaded arrest so far.
On December 1, 2000, about 50 prisoners in different prisons started an indefinite hunger strike. Another 150 prisoners are taking part through solidarity actions.
There are many reasons to combat the reality of life behind the walls, but the prisoners have opted to fight for three demands: 1) the end of the FIES and isolation; 2) the end of dispersion; 3) the release of prisoners with incurable illnesses.
FIES (Fichero de Internos de Especial Seguimento) was introduced by the Penitentiary Institutions in 1991 to ensure their security and good order. It was sold to the public as a sort of database for classifying the most dangerous prisoners. In reality the FIES is a lot more than this. Prisoners who fall under the FIES regime are basically isolated; spending 23 hours a day in their cells with one hour outside in the courtyard. Their communications with family and friends and their access to books and paper is greatly restricted. The only physical contact they get is the beatings from the guards. There can be no pretense that such a regime is intended to “rehabilitate” the prisoner.
Dispersion—moving the prisoner to a prison far from her family and frequently switching him from one prison to another—is not just used against political prisoners. More than 52% of the prisoners in Spain are serving their sentence outside of the province where their friends and families are, making visits difficult. The demand for the release of prisoners with incurable illnesses is simply the demand that they be allowed to die with dignity.
On December 7, Michele Pontolillo, an anarchist prisoner started a hunger strike in solidarity with the other prisoners. His statement is printed elsewhere in this issue. On February 19, 14 prisoners in the Puerto I prison began a hunger strike to protest the beatings and tortures that occur in Spanish prisons.
On February 12, the prisoner, Francisco Maduro Delgado was beaten to unconsciousness by 13 jailers armed with sticks. He received no medical attention. On February 16, two more prisoners, Antonio Berbel Torres and Jesus Maria Uribechebarria Bolinaga, were beaten in the prison. The hunger struck was begun in solidarity with those beaten. They call for outside solidarity in their struggle against the prison system and the brutality they experience daily.
Prison only allows limited forms of resistance. The hunger strike is one of the few self-organized forms of revolt possible within the prison walls. These hunger strikers deserve our solidarity in its strongest form—total revolt against the society that makes prison possible.
(The following text is based on a statement issued be the 5th May Group, Turkish anarchists in exile in London)
Hunger strikes and death fasts have continued for more than two months in prisons in Turkey. 15,000 prisoners went on strike. More than 35 prisoners were killed in a police raid. The total number of deaths has increased. The principle aim of the action is against the “F” type of prison. The main feature of this type of prison is that it is made of little single cells for each prisoner. The Turkish state wants to move the prisoners in to these prisons in order to dissolve the prison resistance movement. Therefore, this prison, also called the “coffin yard”, is the symbol of present resistance. This is a little information about the general issue.
However, here is the most important thing; we would like to share with our comrades something about the anarchist prisoners in Turkey. They are under oppression from two powers. On the one side are the Turkish authorities, on the other side is the Leninist-stalinist left. These leftists build an “inner prison”. They are in power inside the prisons and negotiate with the prisons’ authorities. A few months ago, one of the anarchists was killed by them in the prison. Two other anarchists were killed by DEV-SOL (revolutionary left) outside prison. Inside the prisons anarchist comrades need solidarity and help for their basic need and treatment, some of them heavily ill.
For more in formation about he situation of Turkish anarchists contact the 5th May Group, P.O. Box 2474, London N8, England. E-mail: [email protected]