Arrests in Basque Country
Spanish Police arrested eight Basques, all members of the International Relations department of the pro-independence Basque political party, Herri Batasuna, in the early hours of Saturday 29 January. Three of them were released on bail the following Tuesday. The other five were remanded on custody and are facing charges of ETA membership. Iñigo Elkoro, one of those remanded, has been acting as defence lawyer in different extradition cases. At the time of his arrest, he was working to prevent the extradition from Mexico to Spain of Basque citizen Oscar Cadenas. Gorka Martinez, a member of the national executive of Herri Batasuna, was also arrested.
Sinn Féin described the arrests as a political act designed to demonise and criminalise and pointed out that in a week when Sinn Féin is defending its mandate, it sent solidarity greetings to the Basque prisoners and called for their immediate release.
Italian immigrant shame
The Italian government is coming under increasing pressure to close down immigration reception centres, which have been condemned by critics as inhumane and illegal. Protests were held in several cities in Italy on Saturday 29 January and police fired tear gas at thousands of demonstrators in Milan. Interior minister Enzo Bianco said that sub-standard centres would be closed.