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This article is taken from PN Review 162, Volume 31 Number 4, March - April 2005.

Letter from Aranjuez Jail Iñaki Uria

This account was written in February 2004, when Iñaki Uria had already been in jail for a year. In March, the Socialists won the general election. Uria was released on bail on 2 August 2004 and remains under restrictions, including reporting twice weekly to a local court.

PEN has supported Iñaki Uria and his colleagues at Euskaldunon Egunkaria by highlighting allegations of ill-treatment, and calls on the Spanish government for assurances that they are not tried in denial of their rights to freedom of expression as guaranteed by international human rights instruments.

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I have been imprisoned in the Aranjuez jail for more than a year for editing Euskaldunon Egunkaria, then the only daily newspaper written entirely in Basque. My name is Iñaki Uria. I'm 43 years old, and I've spent 25 working in the Basque press. Basque is the oldest living language in Europe. It has about 800,000 speakers, about 30 per cent of all inhabitants of the Basque Country. Three wars in the nineteenth century, the loss to Franco in the twentieth, the 40 years of Franco's dictatorship, and the waves of massive immigration worsened the health of Basque language. It would be dead by now, save for the efforts of many Basque people in the 1960s. They created Basque primary schools, unified the language, and made it useful for all aspects modern society, from art to science, from religion to business, and, of course, including the press. Until ...


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