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HomeAbout NBHRNPolitical PrisonersFBI arrests the patriot Avelino González Claudio

FBI arrests the patriot Avelino González Claudio

Written by Perla Franco / Claridad
February 14 to 20, 2008
(Click here to read the original article)

With an image totally different from the one the FBI had created on the computer as part of its propaganda “Wanted by the FBI,” independentist Avelino González Claudio was brought in chains last Monday, February 11, before federal magistrate Marcos López for an “identification hearing,” in which the court decided to extradite him to Connecticut for trial.

González Claudio was accompanied by his attorneys José [sic] Ramón Acevedo and Rafael Anglada. It was Acevedo who addressed the magistrate and mentioned that “The person before this court is Avelino González Claudio.”

He proceeded to express that his client refused to recognize the authority of the court to extradite him and that he declared himself to be a political prisoner, invoking international law. He also asked that any prosecution by the Government or the United States Department of Justice take place in his country and not in the United States.

The attorney also claimed that since his arrest, González Claudio had been held in an isolation cell separated from general population and that the only window in the cell had been covered up to prevent him from seeing outside. He alleged that this was not necessary, given that in the past 22 years and currently, González Claudio represented no threat. He asked that he be permitted to meet with him in an appropriate place in the prison, and not where he was he was deprived of privacy.

He also asked that the court recognize González Claudio’s right to bond, which the prosecution opposed and for which the magistrate set a hearing for Wednesday [sic], February 21.

According to the FBI, in the past 22 years, five months and eight days that they have been looking for him, prior to the arrest last Thursday, February 7, most of the time González Claudio was using the name José Ortega Morales.

A thinner González Claudio, with gray hair pulled into a ponytail, seemed tranquil and smiled when he noticed his family was in the courtroom. But it wasn’t until the identification hearing and the request of his attorney that he was able to share a minute with his wife Blanca. In an emotional encounter during which they were not allowed to touch, her gaze tried to avoid tears while she tried to transmit her love and support to Avelino. When he left, she approached the family, including one of their granddaughters and one of González Claudio’s sons, who were waiting for her. Her granddaughter cried uncontrollably, not being able to hug her grandfather, and her father, who carried her in his arms, cried as well. The family did not want to speak to the press.

Since his arrest, González Claudio has received the support of twenty-one independentist organizations grouped under the name Solidarity Table. In a press release, the coalition demanded that the FBI and the Federal Bureau of Prisons “allow Avelino González Claudio’s children and grandchildren to visit him,” and “that they not remove him from his country,” that the FBI and the Puerto Rico Police stop “persecuting those who struggle for the decolonization of Puerto Rico,” and that the “ELA Government cease its collaboration with federal agencies who violate the right to decolonize Puerto Rico.”

From next Friday to Sunday, after 6:00 p.m., there will be a vigil in front of the federal jail in Guaynabo to show support for González Claudio.

Version of the arrest

On Thursday, February 7, the day of the arrest, the head of the FBI in Puerto Rico, Luis Fraticelli, told the press the following version of the events: that at 9:30 in the morning on Thursday, February 7, the Puerto Rico Police stopped González Claudio, and then the FBI intervened to arrest him. That he was driving a car, with false identification, near the Urbanization Jardines de Mónaco in Manatí, where they presumed he was living. That González Claudio did not deny his identity. That they understood that for the 22 years they had not been able to find him, he had stayed in Puerto Rico, working as a teacher in a private school. That previously they had identified him as manager of a print shop. That if he is found guilty, he will face a sentence of up to 275 years. And that while they offered this information, the FBI was searching the home where the arrestee supposedly lived.

Write to Avelino González Claudio
To send letters to our compañero while he is being held in custody in Puerto Rico, address them to the following address:

Avelino González Claudio
09873-000 MDC
Guaynabo Metropolitan Detention Center
PO Box 2005
Cataño, Puerto Rico 00963

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