Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has condemned the arrests in Spain of 12 lawyers defending Basque political prisoners.
Ms Anderson said;
“The arrests this morning of 16 individuals, including 12 lawyers representing Basque political prisoners is contemptible.
“Money has also been seized during a series of co-ordinated raids at several locations, including trade union offices.
“Everyone is entitled to legal representation and lawyers engaged in these cases must be allowed to carry out their work without state interference and intimidation.
“Unfortunately in Ireland we know all too well about what can happen when the state tries to prevent human rights lawyers from carrying out their work.
“The killings of Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, carried out by loyalist gangs in collusion with British state agents, illustrates what can happen when states attempt to frustrate justice.
“These arrests come just days after a huge demonstration in Bilbao where more than 80,000 people took to the streets to support the rights of political prisoners.
“This highlights once again the refusal of the Spanish state to engage constructively in the Basque peace process.”