INTRODUCTION: Five more political prisoners were released in Bilbao on Sunday (3 April) under Spain's latest amnesty for political detainees.
GV Demonstrators in streets with banners and placards chanting. (4 shots)
GV Demonstrator running through traffic jam to receiving released prisoners. (2 shots)
GV Prisoners carried shoulder high through crowds.
GV Crowd cheering as released prisoner addresses crowd. (4 shots)
Initials VS 20.30
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Five more political prisoners were released in Bilbao on Sunday (3 April) under Spain's latest amnesty for political detainees.
SYNOPSIS: More than 3000 people were on hand to greet the prisoners. Bilbao's the unofficial capital of the Basque area and there's been several jubilant rallies in and around the city as more prisoners are released. So far 59 detainees have been set free and the majority of them are Basques arrested by the regime of the late General Franco.
Eighty-two other political prisoners also benefited from the amnesty, but they're still being held on other charges. More than 1450 common prisoners have been freed after their sentences were reduced at the same time as the amnesty was declared by King Juan Carlos last month. The Amnesty is aimed at preparing the way for general elections in May. It'll be the first democratic vote in Spain for more than 40 years. The Basques are demanding the release of even more prisoners than are covered by the amnesty.
The prisoners released on Sunday included Antonio Arizabalaga, who was sentenced to death in 1969 for ordering a bomb explosion. This sentence was later commuted to 30 years in prison. He's the first man who had been sentenced to death to be freed under the amnesty. The other prisoners faced sentences of between 20 and 25 years in jail.
On their release, the prisoners demanded a total amnesty for political prisoners. They also requested that next Sunday (9 April) be declared a national day of pertest aimed at publicising the Basque cause.