The Irish Appeal for the release of Arnaldo Otegi was launched in Leinster House on the 19th November, with the intervention of Basque Musician Fermin Muguruza, Basque Senator and Human Rights Lawyer, Urko Aiartza and Irish Artist Robert Ballagh, during the event a short film about Otegi was screened.
The event was hosted by Gerry Adams TD, Maureen O’Sullivan TD and Finian McGrath TD and the three of them took the floor. Gerry Adams recalled his relation with Otegi and showed his support for the ongoing process.
After the screening of the video about Otegi, campaign promoter Fermin Muguruza, explained the reasons to launch the Appeal, highlighted the role payed by Otegi and denounced the attitude of the Spanish government towards Basque political prisoners.
Robert Ballagh introduced the reading of the 38 endorsers of the Irish Appeal. The list includes well known individuals, artists, sports personalities, political endorsers, religious leaders, musicians, academics, writers, journalists and trade union embers.
The event ended with a short description of the current situation by Senator Aiartza who stressed the importance of international support and used as example the response of the Minister of Foreign Relations and Commerce of the Irish Republic last October 27, supporting the process.
The Irish government urged to advance in the search for political solutions and peace
On October 27th 2015, Charles Flanagan TD, Minister of Foreign Relations and Commerce of the Irish Republic urged “all the parts implicated to advance over this step (the declaration by ETA of 2011) and to work for a long-term political solution and a lasting peace and reconciliation in the Basque Country”. In a response directed to Sean Crowe TD, spokesperson for foreign relations for Sinn Fein in the Parliament of Dublin.
The minister declared being aware of the “Free Otegi” campaign, after the parliamentarian of Sinn Fein reminded him that Otegi was imprisoned by the Spanish government as a response to his peace initiative.
The minister recalled that the penitentiary policy belongs to the “Spanish judiciary and government” and therefore “it wouldn’t be appropriate” for him to comment anything about it.
Straight afterwards, the minister affirmed that “the government continues supporting and urging all efforts to assure peace and stability in the Basque Country”, and he underscored that his “Government welcomed the declaration of ETA in October of 2011 in which the organization had decided the ‘definitive cessation of their armed activity’”.