The Prison of "La Sante"
I am going to see a friend, Gabi Mouesca, he is Basque. He
is 38 years old; he has been in jail since 1984. He went to trial
recently with two other Basque people for a 1983 action. They
had to wait 17 years for the trial!
I was astonished to find him so well. He is a resistant, an active
member and a believer in God. His 77-year-old mother visits him
every two weeks since 1984, I find that marvelous. To come to
Paris she has to travel back and forth 1,400 kms for a half-hour
visit. "There is not a single visit during which my mother
does not cry," said Gabi.
We speak about his trial; there have been great moments when
Gabi asked for a one-minute silence for all the victims, the
President of the trial refused. When the General Prosecutor required
the maximal penalty of 30 years jail, Gabi stood up and said:
"There is a definite bias with you. How can you condemn
a man to 30 years jail?"
The seven Judges of the special trial gave him 15 years in prison.
In Gabi's case, the fight for the Basque people still goes on.
A crime of solidarity
Repression against immigrants without a permit is affecting
those who help them. A woman was condemned in Lille, a Union
member also in Clermont-Ferrand. Today that is happening to Delphine
I met Delphine in Tours in 1997. She was doing a hunger strike
that lasted 55 days to obtain an official permit for her husband-to-be
from Algeria. She won; he obtained a 10 years permit.
Recently Delphine was prosecuted in Tours for helping an illegal
immigrant to file his forms for the administration. She was found
not guilty, but the Prosecutor made an appeal and the Orleans
court condemned her to a suspended jail sentence of two months
for "helping a foreigner to an illegal stay". It is
an outrageous judgement that undermines the reputation of Justice.
Solidarity becomes a crime.
Immediately, several of us sign a letter to the Minister of Justice
in which we stated that we have helped illegal immigrants to
fill in their immigration request and to give them hospitality.
We want to be put on trial for this crime.
Resistance in Tunisia
The National Council for Freedom in Tunisia (CNTL) organized
a fascinating evening meeting. A kind of an unusual feeling of
fraternity spreads over hundreds of Tunisians packed in a room
too small for them. I was happy to be with them, they welcomed
me as a brother. We stayed late at night and ate some lamb together.
Tunisians in exile or living in the country will be speaking.
This lawyer from Bizerte will be describing the torture in prison;
a woman will be talking about the missing persons. Speaking for
a working group I underlined our responsibility in France towards
those who defend Mr. Ben Ali's regime.
Tunisia has become a prison, liberties are not any more respected,
tortures are current practice.
Cultural activities are almost abolished. Freedom of expression
is completely repressed. All what is published is controlled.
One cannot read a book or a newspaper that is not authorized
by the government. All is done to exalt the President. The way
the funerals of Bourguiba were organized was an insult to the
people of Tunisia.
Today the discontent of the people is starting to be expressed.
Youngsters demonstrate. Some officials dare to speak; the Tunisian
society does not want to keep quiet. It is a beginning that gives