contra la criminalización de la desobediencia civil

Iniciativa social de denuncia y solidaridad con las personas condenadas por la pieza “Desobediencia Civil” en el sumario 18/98

Manifest (english)

In defence of civil disobedience,

We, persons who have been convicted or tried for our refusal to fulfil the now defunct Spanish obligatory military service; with the declared support of the people and organizations of the pacifist and antimilitarist movement; and with the solidarity of the organisations and persons who sign this call,

Wish to declare today, 2 October 2008, International day of Nonviolence that:

• We express our deep indignation at the prison sentences of 9 and 10 years to which nine Basque citizens have been unfairly condemned; accused, within the mass trial known as “18/98”, of promoting civil disobedience. And we do so on the basis of our defence of the civil disobedience that we supported in the past, we support now, and we will continue to support.

• Once again, and as confirmed by the clearly expressed conclusions of the Defence Commission of the Barcelona Lawyers Association (the Col·legi d’Advocats de Barcelona), we must note that the instruction process, the judgment and the sentence of the Spanish High Court (Audiència Nacional) have not observed the minimum fundamental juridical guarantees required. This has also been confirmed in the conclusions of the final report of the International Observers’ Commission for the trial, made up of 300 lawyers and jurists.

• Civil disobedience is a political practice which is inherent in advanced democracies and is deeply rooted in nonviolence. In the present case, and in the context of the enduring conflict in the Basque Country, this sentence aims to undermine alternatives of social transformation and to criminalise political practices opposed to violence. Civil disobedience, which is born out of the principle of personal responsibility, has always assumed all the penal consequences which it may justly lead to. But to deliberately and dishonestly confuse civil disobedience with terrorism does not at all favour the system of freedoms which a democratic system implies.

For all these reasons, we ask of the magistrates of the Supreme Court who have to consider the appeal against the sentence:

The free absolution of all the persons processed in the Civil Disobedience section of the 18/98 trial.

Barcelona, 2 October 2008: International Day of Nonviolence


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