The Damage Done

By Thomas Bunstead

Basque writer Willy Uribe is now into his twelfth day of a hunger strike in protest against the incarceration of reformed heroin addict David Reboredo. This is the latest in a number of cases demonstrating the Spanish government's perceived double standards when it comes to granting judicial pardons. There have been a number of high-profile pardons (which require government intervention) in the last couple of years, including those of four Partido Popular politicians found guilty of corruption and a banker of embezzlement, and then, this year, four Barcelona police officers who had been found guilty of torturing a Romanian man. Two hundred of the country's top judges signed a petition calling the latter "fraudulent" and an "abuse" of the power to pardon. The question many are asking (there are now more than 80,000 signatures on a change.org e-petition) is: why isn't Reboredo receiving the same consideration? The forty-three-year-old from Vigo in northwest Spain has just been jailed on two counts of possession (a total of 0.4 grams in the two cases) in 2006 and 2009. He was addicted to heroin from the late 90s, but now works as a drug counselor and has been clean for three years, as several local charities and social workers attest. As El Pais put it in their lead editorial last Sunday: "He should be embraced in solidarity. But instead we've got him locked up in jail." Please go here to sign the petition, and retweet Willy Uribe's multilingual tweets on the case to let the Spanish government know the whole world is watching.


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