Yesterday afternoon, agents of the municipal police of Bilbao entered the office of the Association Pannagh and detained its president Martin Barriuso and two other members accusing them of drug trafficking.
At about 17.00 hs several police patrols showed up in Deusto and without any explanation started to search the premises and detain all persons present. Since then the detained have been kept in isolation, waiting to be interrogated. They have only been allowed to leave the police office in order to accompany the legal registration of Pannaghs premises and the confiscation of various materials.
This action seems to fit in a broader operation in which other associations, some of them of a less social and transparant character, have also been intervened. As Pannagh we have expressed ourselves since many years, denouncing blurry ways of working that have little to do with the social objective that we are trying to obtain. Therefore we have once again become involved in situations that do not correspond. In case any police force or legal institution should wish any information about us, it should be said that our association has always showed the will to co-operate. There is no need for detention or other acts of this kind.
Apart from the obvious damage that this police action is causing to the normal functioning of the association and its members, the detention of Martin Barriuso will also mean he is not able to appear in the UK parliament , where he was expected on Thursday to present the model of the Spanish clubs in the Drugs Commission.
As Executive Committee, we wish to denounce this new clumsy agression against the interests and rights of our association on behalf of the Municipal Police. Apparently, the continuous public steps that are taken by our association are not followed by some security forces that disturb the normal course of justice repeating actions that always end with acquittance. As Pannagh we have always shown transparency, participation and sensibilisation in meetings with local instiututions and administration. The association has never dedicated itself to drugs trafficking or deailing. We are a social movement fighting for a legal regulation of cannabis to end with the black market and the enormous benefits that some reciev thanks to current drug policies.
Pannagh is a real alternative for more than 300 cannabis users who have decided to disconnect totally from the practice of black market and a vital necessity for 120 people who use cannabis with a medical certificate as a palliative for the many illnesses that can be treated with cannabis, some of them as priority remedy according to the AICM.
For the moment and until our lawyers can give us more details on the events, we as pannagh demand the inmediate release of the detained and thank the many gestures of support that we received from many people.
STEERING COMMITTEE PANNAGH
(SUPPORTED BY THE SC OF FAC, EUSFAC and ENCOD)
The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies, is a pan-European network of currently 150 NGO’s and individual experts involved in the drug issue on a daily base. We are the European section of an International Coalition, which consists of more than 400 NGOs from around the world that have adhered to a Manifesto for Just and Effective Drug Policies (established in 1998). Among our members are organisations of cannabis and other drug users, of health workers, researchers, grassroot activists as well as companies.