(English) Statement: «Arrest warrant and extradition request against Nekane Txapartegi revoked»

After being convicted in a political trial and severely tortured by the Guarda Civil, Nekane Txapartegi fled the Basque Country in 2007. Beginning of April 2022, the Spanish special court Audiencia Nacional annulled the international arrest warrant and the extradition request. After 15 years in exile, Nekane Txapartegi was able to embrace her family again in the Basque Country.

After her escape, Nekane Txapartegi lived with her daughter in Switzerland. In 2016, she was arrested in Zurich under pressure from the Spanish authorities. She spent 17 months in detention before the Spanish authorities withdrew the extradition request. A broad “Free Nekane” solidarity campaign had brought the sexualised torture and political persecution to public attention. Even before Txapartegi’s release, however, the Spanish justice system made new accusations. The false papers that Txapartegi had carried when she was arrested in Zurich were supposed to prove her ETA membership. The papers were identity cards for herself and her daughter. In this context, the Spanish authorities submitted another extradition request to Switzerland in October 2020. An arrest warrant was also in force internationally.

In the beginning of April the Audiencia Nacional Court withdrew all charges except for possession of false papers. Because this will result in a mild sentence at worst, the Audiencia Nacional withdrew the arrest warrant and the extradition request. After her hearing on the 5th of April in Madrid, Nekane Txapartegi was able to return to the Basque country with her daughter after 15 years on the run. The trial for the false documents is scheduled to take place this autumn.

Switzerland never extradited Nekane Txapartegi, but the pending extradition request meant great uncertainty for the Basque feminist and her daughter. The international arrest warrant prevented her from travelling throughout the EU. Her underaged daughter was also unable to leave Switzerland, not being entitled to the necessary papers. The fact that the Spanish judiciary has now dropped all charges of membership or support for ETA allows Nekane to solve the administrative and legal problems she’s faced.

After the visit to the Basque country, Nekane Txapartegi will return to Switzerland in the beginning of May.

Freenekane Alliance, 21.04.2022

Media contact: freenekane.medien@gmail.com