[Sinn Fein]

5th June 2003

Ó Snodaigh - EU  decision on Batasuna flies in face of democracy

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on International and EU Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh has condemned the decision by EU Interior Ministers to add Batasuna, a Basque political party, to the list of organisations it suspects has links withterrorism. The decision was made at the request of a Spanish government that has been waging an accelerating ideological war against Basque culture, language and independence movements.

The Dublin South-Central TD said:

``Everyone with an interest in seeing a peaceful solution to the problems in the Euskal Herria (The Basque Country) will regret this decision. The EU has been conned into doing the dirty work of aSpanish administration, which has continually displayed absolute contempt for the democratic process and for the Basque people. The threat to peace and democracy in Euskal Herria does not come from  democratically elected Batasuna but from the Spanish Government.

``The meaning of democracy for Prime Minister Aznar includes the banning of political parties, the closure of newspapers and radio stations, the prosecution of culture and language activists, the imprisonment of the executive of Basque youth organisations and the ongoing and systematic abuse and torture of political prisoners, repeatedly denounced by human rights organisations and just as repeatedly ignored.

``Sinn Fein joins tens of thousands of Basques in expressing our continued support for Batasuna and the struggle for independence and socialism in Euskal Herria.''

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