Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > Spain
Report from the arrested "Spanish 12" animal rights activists
First things first: THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR AMAZING SUPPORT! It has been very emotional to all of us knowing about all the demos all over the world. (FARM and Equal Justice Alliance arranged three protests last Friday in front of Spanish embassy and consulates in Washington, New York, and San Francisco.)
Now, the story so far. Last Wednesday June 22, about 160 cops divided in thirteen different teams, wearing balaclavas and armed with submachine guns, raided the homes of twelve animal rights activists in a coordinated action in different cities all over Spain. They arrested 11 animal rights activists (including some working with Igualdad Animal, Equanimal and some unrelated with this groups). Another activist, Javier, wasn't arrested at that time because he wasn't at his usual home, so he'll surrender tomorrow morning. They took dozens of boxes with our stuff, including laptops, tapes, hard drives, DVDs, phones, money, cameras, hidden cameras, t-shirts, books... imposing great difficulties to keep working on animal rights.
Right now there are three AR prisoners (Olaia Fre'ra, Eneko Perez & Eladio Ferreira), while 8 others 'including me' have been released with charges (this means that we must go every 1st and 15th of every month to sign in court). We are accused of illegal association, trespassing, harm against the environment (in reference to mink raids), property destruction and revealing secrets (installing hidden cameras or filming and releasing images obtained from them). One of the activists has the additional charge of "disobedience to authority". All of them are criminal charges and the sentences could be several years in jail. It seems the judge thinks we are the ALF and that we are responsible of a yet unknown number of actions (farms and labs raids, sabotages, etc.). He has even called us publicly "ecoterrorists"' tho there isn't such thing in our laws.
We still don't have the right to know the details of the investigation but we know that they have been following us, listening to our phones, tracking them, reading our emails -including the one I am writing from right now I guess-, probably looking into our garbage and infiltrating undercover cops among other tactics. We know of at least one undercover cop who tried -without success- to gather information among the volunteers of our group. We expect that there will probably be more activists arrested in the following days and the whole process could go on for several months at least.
With just two exceptions, the media coverage has been totally bad, really bad (not checking the truthfulness of some statements, hyper-sensationalism, lies, etc). We are labeled as "ecoterrorists" and "radical environmentalists". One of the main TV channels even said that we had instructions on how to make bombs in our website!!! Of course, this is a fabrication and the closest thing they could ever find are some delicious vegan recipes. We'll try to keep you updated and have a new website with the English section running as soon as possible. As soon as we have the details and addresses of our 3 activists in jail, we'll post them in the list so people can send postcards/letters to keep their morale high.
Thanks again and all the best, Jose