22 SEPTEMBER 1961, Page 16

ARRESTS IN SPAIN SIR, — I should like to bring to your

notice a matter which will, I am sure, rouse the concern of your readers.

Forty young Basque men were imprisoned in Spain in July and August of this year, charged with activi- ties against the Franco regime, They were arrested and held, first in San Sebastian, where they were subjected to systematic torture under the direction of Colonel Eymar, a specialist in this art since his war- time schooling by the Gestapo. Most of the pryoners have now been transferred to Carabanehel prison, in Madrid, and the process of torture and torment continues. Its object is to extract confessions of guilt on the charges preferred by the Police. and also to force the men to betray the identities of their col- leagues in the Basque resistance movement against Franco.

The men are accused of having burned two flags and of having committed an act of sabotage on a railway line to upset the concentration of Falangist supporters at celebrations in San Sebastian of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Franco's rise, by military rebellion, to power. I am not concerned with the reason for the arrests. What I do want to affirm is this: that there is no reason at all, even if the facts were as stated, for any prisoner to be subjected to torture. The laws and customs of all civilised nations guarantee the integrity of the persons of its nationals; they forbid the police to submit anyone to torture. Only totalitarian regimes wish and dare to admit torture as a proper means to subject their peoples.

May I ask your readers and all men schooled in democracy and decency to protest against this new manifestation of calculated savagery, by letter, by telegram, by any means which will serve to inform the benighted authorities. in Madrid that the world is watching them and condemns their opprobious actions?

MANUEL DE IRUJO Ex-Minister of Justice of the Spanish Republic Basque Delegation, 39 Victoria Street. SW1