Institutional statements on the occasion of the pronouncements made by the Attorney General’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office towards political prisoners

03.11.2018 - Catalonia - Redacción Barcelona

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Institutional statements on the occasion of the pronouncements made by the Attorney General’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office towards political prisoners

President of the Parliament of Catalonia, Roger Torrent i Ramió

The request for sentences made today by the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office in the indictment against the defendants in relation to the referendum of 1 October 2017 leads us to pronounce jointly.

Today, in the indictment filed against the legitimate representatives of the people of Catalonia, leaders of civil society, police commanders, the Public Prosecutor’s Office asks them for sentences that add up to more than 200 years in prison. 200 years against democrats, against people of peace, with whom one can agree or disagree, but who in no case have committed any crime. It is unacceptable.

It is unacceptable that people who have demonstrated their commitment to democracy and peaceful means of political action should be accused of crimes such as rebellion, sedition, disobedience or embezzlement.

They are honorable politicians and social leaders, who always acted in accordance with the principles of freedom of expression, freedom of participation and against all types of violence, wherever it came from.

The writ of the Public Prosecutor’s Office is formally presented against 22 people, but in practice the vast majority of the citizens of this country are accused. A majority that knows that the conflict between Catalonia and the state has to be resolved politically. Because in this process people are not persecuted, ideas are persecuted. But those who do so do not know that ideas cannot be imprisoned. They do not know that we will never give up democratically deciding our future. They do not know that we will not give in to repression.

The indictment is based on a perverse fiction that seeks to criminalize the legitimate exercise of fundamental rights by the citizens of Catalonia. We will not allow it.

Organising a referendum is not a crime. Putting the ballot boxes can never be a crime in a democracy. That is why we consider that the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office in this judicial process does not act with a desire for justice, but with a desire for vengeance towards civil servants, senior officials, deputies, members of the Government and the round table and the president of the Parliament of Catalonia.

We also recall that the Euro-orders against the exiles were rejected as a political conflict, not ordinary criminal. That is why Judge Llarena withdrew them and they are now free citizens all over the world except in Spain.

We also show our concern for the lack of conditions for the defence of those accused in the trial as a result of their status as pretrial prisoners. And it is this pretrial detention, which now exceeds the year for many of the accused, an advanced and absolutely unjustified sentence that shows that the cause is more inspired by revenge than in the sense of justice.

President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, QuimTorra

There is no rebellion, there is no crime. It is not only the President of the Government, the President of the Parliament, the councillors and a majority of deputies of this House. It is supported by more than a hundred professors and criminology doctors from all over the State, none of them suspected of being pro-independence. And also the European countries, denying the Euro-orders of Judge Llarena. Even the former Minister of Finance has made it clear that there is no embezzlement.

The vast majority of Catalan society knows that there is no crime, because all of us who lived through what happened last October know that the only violence was that of the national police and the civil guard beating peaceful people who only wanted to vote.

In fact, the Public Prosecutor’s Office is criminalizing the more than 2 million people who defended democracy with their own bodies on the first of October. And faced with this evidence, President Sánchez has decided not to act, which is the same as being complicit in the repression. And no, that the State Attorney’s Office accuses of sedition instead of rebellion is not a gesture, it is an absolute contempt for the imprisoned democrats.

Today the Spanish government has lost a golden opportunity to take the conflict in Catalonia out of the courts and return it to politics, which is where it should be.

Perhaps you think you will win a few votes, but what you are doing is deepening a democratic injustice, which affects not only the independentistas, but above all Spanish democracy itself. Why, how much repression can Spanish democracy endure? How many democrats can accept Catalonia being retained by force? Does anyone believe that by asking for 200 years in prison for the independence leaders, the more than 2 million people who want a Catalan Republic will disappear? Does anyone believe that more repression will end the desire for freedom of the majority of Catalan society? On the contrary. Each time we have risen by being stronger, by being more, by being more determined. And that is why we will persist, as do all political prisoners and exiles, as do all political prisoners and exiles. How do the more than a thousand reprisals in the country?

We share with all Catalans the immense indignation at seeing the demand for endless punishment of good people, people of peace. But we work and will work tirelessly to turn all this indignation into positive energy, to face these grave moments with strength, determination and unity. And we all need each other.

We appeal to the spirit of the 3rd of October, because institutions, trade unions, entities and citizens are advancing relentlessly around the great consensus that unites us: an end to repression, freedom for political prisoners and the free return of exiles, and a democratic solution to the conflict in Catalonia by exercising the effective right to self-determination.

Calling for a referendum is not a crime; it is democracy. And we will not stop until the prisoners are free, the exiles return home, and the repression against all those who helped give voice to the people is over.

Ex-president of the Generalitat de Catalunya in exile, Carles  (video in Catalan)

One year after the imprisonment of part of the Government of Catalonia, precisely today, the powers of the Spanish State have just made public the request for imprisonment for the crimes of rebellion and embezzlement against most of them. And also against the leadership of the interior department of the Government of Catalonia.

The state as a whole, from the king to the prosecutor’s office, in fact continues to exercise vengeance against a government, against a parliament and against a large part of the population who said to them: “This way, no! This way we don’t want to continue to be part of this state!

And we told them in a democratic way, through the ballot boxes, and also in a peaceful way, through a very clear commitment, an inalienable commitment to non-violence.

Today, in the Spanish State, to put ballot boxes has become the worst crime that can be committed.

The rule of law suffers from the moment when people like Carme Forcadell, Oriol Junqueras, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, Dolors Balsa, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sánchez are imprisoned without having committed any crime. People who have militated and who militate in pacifism and coexistence, who have put themselves at the service of citizens in order to contribute to making possible the yearnings to which these citizens are entitled, convinced that this is, in fact, the purpose of a democratic system.

People who, with their attitude, like the rest of the politicians in exile, and also that of the citizens persecuted for having participated in the protests, have all contributed to peace and non-violence for as long as they had responsibilities or action.

The same cannot be said of the powers of the state.

But those who will be judged under the worst accusations will be those who prevented all violence and those who end up accusing them are a state that made police and judicial violence the only way to avoid Catalonia’s independence.

Faced with this, dear fellow citizens, we must address our voice to the world. And we must address it to Europe in particular and, even more specifically, to the democrats of the Spanish State. Your voice is more necessary than ever. We need you, we want you to feel at a time when the rule of law is in danger. In which Europe runs the risk of losing credibility as a space that protects civil and political liberties and rights around the world.

Holding political prisoners is a disgrace! To make a political judgment, to persecute and condemn people for their political action is to cross all the red lines.

Europe cannot become an accomplice to this abuse with its silence.

It will be up to us to persist in denouncing this democratic regression that is taking place in the Spanish State. This fact is one of the reasons why we want to live in a free republic without any kind of fear. A republic in which the head of state is chosen by all of us and in which no one goes to prison for defending and exercising rights that are in fact contemplated and protected, or should be, in the Charter of the United Nations.

We will continue the fight, even more determinedly, for all prisoners. For all citizens who wish to live in freedom.

Mayoress of Barcelona, Ada Colau (Catalan)

The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has argued that dialogue is more necessary than ever before a jail request for pro-independence leaders “unfounded and disproportionate”, and has urged the State Attorney and the Prosecutor to reconsider their positions. “In a dark day in which it seems that the solution is farther than ever, now is when those who have government responsibilities must redouble their efforts” to dialogue, she said this Friday in an institutional statement before the media.

In her speech, she reiterated what she had said last year on the occasion of the imprisonment of the political leaders of the Parlament de Catalunya.

statements of November 2, 2017

Translated from Spanish by Pressenza London

Categories: Europe, Human Rights, Nonviolence, Politics, Press Releases
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