nidhighe at nidhighe at
Tue Sep 18 10:41:19 MDT 2001


The Basque political prisoner and First of October Anti Fascist Groups
(GRAPO) militant, Elbira Dieguez Silveira, will be released on Saturday,
22nd September, from the Sevilla II prison. Elbira has been imprisoned for
the past nine years and this being her second time in jail, she has spent
over 22 years imprisoned for her revolutionary actions within GRAPO.

Elbira, who is from Muskiz in the Basque Lands, is 42 years old has spent
over 22 years imprisoned in total for her militancy within the GRAPO. She
lost approximately 80 percent of her hearing in one ear from the severe
torture she received during her first 13 year period of imprisonment. Upon
her release, she re-joined the GRAPO. While her initial incarceration had
been for her struggle against Franco's falangist regime, upon her release
she continued to find repression, denial of the right of
self-determination, unemployment, poverty, absolute lack of social and
political liberties and so decided to rejoin the GRAPO.

When she was re-arrested, on the 5th December 1992, she was again subjected
to torture--physically, sexually and psychologically by the Civil Guard,
who even raped her by forcing a gun into her vagina. During her two periods
of imprisonment, she has been in eight different prisons and has nine times
gone on hunger strike, including one which lasted for 435 days combined
amongst all her  comrades, between November 1989 and February 1991. The
participants were subjected to the torture of force-feeding. Due to a lack
of adequate medical attention while in jail, she suffers from ongoing ulcer
and dental problems.

Elbira is scheduled to be released on Saturday, 22nd September 2001. She
will be welcomed outside the prison doors by relatives, friends and various
groups offerring solidarity, who will travel from the Basque Lands to
welcome her. Upon her return home, she will be permitted to personally
remove her own photograph from among those of various Basque political
prisoners hung on a wall in her home town. After allowing her a week to
recover and re-orient herself, there will be a street celebration on the
evening of Saturday, 29th September, followed by a dinner in her honour.

A spokesperson for the Irish Republican Socialist Party's International
Department welcomed the news of Elbira's impending release, saying:

"The IRSP extends its deepest solidarity to Elbira Dieguez Silveira and her
comrades and applauds her release from prison.

"Elbira's continued commitment to Basque national liberation and the
working class of all Iberia and the world throughout her long and difficult
imprisonment is an inspiration to all those opposed to oppression and
struggling for justice and liberation. Like our own Prisoners of War, from
whom we draw similar inspiration, Elbira has provided a model for those who
must follow her in a struggle that has yet to be won.

"As a revolutionary who did not hesitate to continue the struggle against
fascism and capitalist exploitation, when others had turned away from that
struggle, Elbira is deserving of the admiration and solidarity of all those
who side with the working class against capitalist exploitation and who
struggle for national liberation against the forces of imperialism. We
embrace Elbira as a sister and as a comrade."

Refering to the planned welcome outside the prison gates, the IRSP
representative concluded:

"The IRSP will be present in spirit amongst those who will gather to greet
Elbira upon her release from prison and we hope to continue and build upon
that bond of solidarity with she and her comrades in the GRAPO, whose
efforts in struggle we salute. The struggle of the Irish and the Basque
nations for liberation creates one bond between us, while the struggle for
the liberation of the working class of our nations through socialism
creates yet another. The victory of one, is a victory for the other, and
Elbira's liberation from long incarceration is a cause for joy in Ireland,
just as it is among the Basques."


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