Transfer of political prisoners to Catalan prisons: six underway, three pending

Nine Catalan political prisoners have been interned in Madrid prisons for many months before any trial and without any credible evidence of committing the crimes they are charged with (violent rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds).

After many requests to be transferred to prisons in Catalonia, six of the prisoners (Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sànchez, Oriol Junqueras, Dolors Bassa, Maria Carme Forcadell and Raül Romeva) are finally moving closer to their families, while the transfer processes for the remaining three (Joaquim Forn, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull) still await responses from the magistrate.

Spain is unusual in comparison to other countries in that this precautionary pre-trial internment can be protracted over a very long period, with no onus on the state to expedite the proceedings while innocent people have been deprived of their liberty. The trial for charges relating to the 1 Oct 2017 referendum in Catalonia is not expected to even begin until 2019, possibly waiting till after elections in May 2019. Prisoners held in precautionary detention before trial have a right under Spanish law to be located in a prison of their choice, so these long overdue transfers should be viewed in terms of legal compliance rather than a concession or “goodwill gesture”. Their continued imprisonment remains an act of repression, a punitive act against the main political and civil elements of the the Catalan independence movement.

They should all be HOME, not locked up CLOSE TO HOME.

New addresses for the six transfers underway are as follows.

  • Jordi Cuixart
  • Jordi Sànchez
  • Oriol Junqueras
  • Raül Romeva
Centre Penitenciari Lledoners
C-55, km 37
08250 Sant Joan de Vilatorrada
Barcelona, Spain
  • Dolors Bassa
  • Maria Carme Forcadell
Centre Penitenciari Puig de les Basses
Raval disseminat, 53
17600 Figueres
Girona, Spain

We will update the other three addresses if and when their transfers are underway.

Preliminary extradition hearing for Clara Ponsatí in Edinburgh

Tomorrow morning (Thu 12 April 2018) here in Scotland at the Sheriff Court in Edinburgh there will be a preliminary hearing for Spain’s request to extradite Professor Clara Ponsatí under the European Arrest Warrant. The Catalan Defence Committee Scotland have organised a demonstration of support outside the court on Chambers Street from 9.15am. Independence Live will be broadcasting live from the demonstration.

The full hearing will begin next week at the same court on Wed !8 April 2018. A crowdfunding appeal for the University of St Andrews professor’s legal costs raised nearly a quarter of a million pounds, most of it pledged within hours of the appeal going live.

Watch the scenes outside the same court when Prof Clara Ponsatí was released on bail on 28 March

Fourth attempt to invest Catalan president scheduled for Friday

Photo credit: Reuters
A fourth attempt to vote on the investiture of a Catalan president following the election of 21 Dec 2017 has been timetabled for Friday with imprisoned MP Jordi Sànchez once again the proposed presidential candidate. The Catalan Parliament seeks a reversal of the Supreme Court decision on releasing Sànchez so that he can attend the parliamentary chamber for the investiture votes, particularly in light of the UN Human Rights Committee last month formally urged the Spanish authorities to respect Sànchez’s political rights.

Parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, vowed that the Catalan chamber would respond “with all political and legal force to defend the fundamental and political rights of MPs,” if the Supreme Court judge in charge of Sànchez’s case once again refuses to let the jailed activist out of prison to attend the parliamentary debate.

Large demonstration in Barcelona will mark six months imprisonment for the two Jordis

Photo credit: ACN
The Espai Democràcia i Convivència (Democracy and Coexistence Space) will host a major demonstration in Barcelona next Sunday 15 April 2018, to mark six months of imprisonment for the President of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, and until recently President of the Catalan National Assembly, Jordi Sànchez. Under the slogan

For rights and freedoms, for democracy and cohesion, we want you home!

the march will start at 12.30pm in the Plaça d’Espanya finishing up with a rally in the Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies. 100s of coaches are already confirmed to arrive from all over the country.

The motto refers to the rejection of the imprisonment of politicians, forced exile and repression. The organisers are seeking a much broader manifestation than those that have been done so far, harking back to the spirit of the 2010 manifestation (10-J) in defense of the Statute of Autonomy.

The many entities making up the Espai Democràcia i Convivència, worried about the violation of fundamental rights and democratic freedoms, call on citizens to participate in the demonstration to provide a unitary response in defense of Catalan institutions, fundamental rights, social cohesion, the right of the Catalan people to decide their political future and democracy.

Initially organised by a dozen associations, the Espai Democràcia i Convivència has already attracted up to one hundred more. These, which reject the imprisonment of Catalan politicians and the violation of human rights, have joined forces to defend democracy and coexistence in “worrying” and “exceptional” moments. That is why they have decided to join and promote actions to reverse the situation, as a continuation of the “Board for Democracy“.

Organisations behind the Espai Democràcia i Convivència include:

  • Association of Actors and Professional Directors of Catalonia (AADPC)
  • Catalan National Assembly (ANC)
  • National Council of Youth of Catalonia (CNJC)
  • CCOO of Catalonia
  • Confederation of Neighborhood Associations of Catalonia (CONFAVC)
  • Federation of Associations of Parents and Mothers of Catalonia (FAPAC)
  • Lafede.cat-Organizations for global justice
  • Òmnium Cultural
  • Unió de Federacions Esportives de Catalunya (UFEC)
  • Unió de Pagesos
  • and UGT de Catalunya

Sunday 15 April is also the Day of Can Jorba, traditionally celebrated at noon in Barcelona with the performance of Castell groups. To accommodate the demonstration and to facilitate the attendance of the castellers, this year the Can Jorba celebration will start at 4.30 pm . The Castellers of Barcelona will perform at the Portal de l’Àngel accompanied by the invited groups: the Minyons of Terrassa, the Xicots de Vilafranca and the Castellers de Sant Cugat.

CDR activist arrested on “terrorism” charges

There has been a further escalation in the “judicialization” of the political crisis in Catalonia with “terrorism” now included in the charges against a grassroots activist arrested yesterday.

A few days ago the Spanish National Court warned that it would prosecute members of the many decentralised Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDRs) in the wake of their recent actions of non-violent civil disobedience in Catalonia, which have caused disruption on some major roads and at toll booths. Yesterday a 34-year old woman and CDR activist, Tamara Carrasco, was arrested by Guardia Civil in Viladecans, a town near Barcelona airport as part of “Operation Maluc”.

The woman was detained overnight in the jails of the Civil Guard in Tres Cantos (Madrid) without any incommunicado detention measures and will appear on Thursday before a National Court judge on charges of rebellion and terrorism. An operation to arrest a second CDR activist in nearby municipality of Esplugues failed to locate their target and brought more than 500 local people out onto the streets in support of the CDR.

Condemnation of the “terrorism” charges has been wide ranging.

German court rejects Puigdemont rebellion charge

Carles Puigdemont has been freed from custody in Germany today and the court in Schleswig-Holstein determined that the charge of violent rebellion was inadmissible in his case. The closest comparable crime to rebellion in Germany is “high treason”, but the court determined that this was not applicable because the requirement of violence was not met.

Only the petition for the crime of embezzlement can now be considered and some clarification on that charge has been requested. If Puigdemont were to be extradited by German judiciary, he could only be tried in Spain for embezzlement and not rebellion.

Puigdemont has been released on bail with a bond of €75,000.

Puigdemont remains in prison in Germany

German judges have ordered Catalonia’s 130th president, Carles Puigdemont, to remain in custody in the northern German town of Neumünster as their courts decide on Spain’s extradition request. They have 60 days to make a decision.

Although rebellion, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail in Spain, is not a crime under German law, the German prosecutor has argued that the rebellion charge “contains in essence the accusation of calling an unconstitutional referendum despite violent riots that could be expected” matching the German charge of “treason”. “Word-for-word conformance between the German and Spanish criminal codes is thus not legally required,” the prosecutor’s statement said. Continue reading Puigdemont remains in prison in Germany

Roger Torrent appeals for a united front in defence of democracy

This is an English translation by Dr. M. McNaught of the Catalan Speaker’s solemn Declaration in Parliament today, following the detention without bail of five Catalan MPs (two of which have resigned to ensure the pro.independence majority in Parliament).


Original text in Catalan.

DECLARATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE PARLIAMENT OVER A UNITARY RESPONSE IN DEFENSE OF DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES AND CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS

As president of the Parliament of Catalonia, accompanied by former presidents, MPs, former MPs and representatives of civil society, all committed to the defense of civil and political rights, I address the people of Catalonia over the gravity of the political and democratic situation that our country is enduring.

We are in a context of unprecedented democratic involution. Recently, we have seen how fundamental rights have been progressively eroded and violated. We have seen how a referendum was pursued by police, and how the people who went to vote were violently repressed.

Yesterday, the escalation of violations of fundamental rights perpetrated by the institutions of the State took a new leap, unacceptable to all democrats.

To criminalize legitimate political ideas, and consider as crimes political actions characteristic of a democracy is not justice, it’s repression.

To imprison people for their political ideas, and deny freedom to those who do not give up their legitimate ideals, is to end ideological freedom.

They are actions that violate civil and political rights that support the rule of law.

The unjust decisions taken yesterday by the courts are one further step. A painfully forceful and definitive step in the context of political repression and violation of fundamental rights to citizens of this country.

What we suffered yesterday is an attack at the heart of democracy.

Consequently, no-one can remain indifferent to this attack. It affects all of us and all who love democracy, justice and freedoms, independently of our partisan and ideological options.

We have political representatives in prison and in exile. We have the Government of the Generalitat intervened. And a Parliament harassed by the courts, which is not allowed to freely develop its primary and essential functions, including to choose the President of the Generalitat.

By ignoring the separation of powers, attacking the political rights of the successive candidates, and with them, the political rights of citizenship, they have not just forced us to suspend a plenary or an investiture, they have suspended democracy.

Enough is enough.

Democracy has been suspended, and we can only recover it through the firmness and the unity of all democrats.

I do not propose rhetoric, I propose dignity. I’m not asking for pity, I’m asking for responses. From now on, I urge you to form a united front in the defense of democracy and fundamental rights.

A front of all sectors of society, based on respect for plurality.

An alliance of all democrats to demand – and secure – the freedom of people persecuted for placing decisions over the political future of this country in the citizens’ hands. Because their imprisonment is unjust. It is not necessary. It is indignant to a democratic country. It is the mark of an authoritarian regime.

Carles, Oriol, Carme, Joaquim, Dolors, Lluís, Raúl, Jordis, Meritxell, Josep, Toni, Marta, Anna. We solemnly promise we will not rest until you’re home. We will not hesitate, we will not stop, we will not stop working until you are free, with your families. We want you home and we will achieve this, let there be no doubt.

This is not about flags, but universal values. Therefore, I call on the democrats of Spain, of Europe, of the entire world, to stand with us. That they be in solidarity with us, as we have so often defended peace and freedom.

The feelings of helplessness and injustice are very strong. But the answer, now more than ever, must be civic, peaceful, democratic and massive. And it must be political. We put politics at the center. Now is the time for politics.

These are grave moments. But it is precisely in these grave hours when we must prove our firmness, our convictions, our commitment to people, democracy, and the country.

Let everyone today who endures the darkness of this moment be sure that this country shall continue to progress, in a dignified manner, with our heads held high.

Despite the severity of the attack we have suffered, I want to convey a message of hope. I am convinced that if we as a society and institutions act together, if we are persistent, if we stand firm, if we persevere in the defense of democratic principles, not only will we halt the impositions and repression, but we shall be able to aspire – each with their legitimate political options – to build a better, fairer and more free country.

Let’s hold high the banner of dignity and democracy. Let’s unite to defend the civil and political rights of our people. Let’s build together a future of hope and freedom for everyone.

Long live democracy and long live Catalonia.

24 March 2018

Rajoy’s rogue state ramps up the repression, re-imprisoning five Catalan politicians

The rogue state within the European Union, Spain, has escalated the democratic crisis in Catalonia by re-imprisoning five Catalan politicians before they face trial on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds for their political role in implementing the independence referendum of 1 October 2017. One further politician, Marta Rovira, did not appear before the Supreme court yesterday and has gone into exile.

Please show your support by writing to the prisoners

The prisoner addresses are on our home page – they need your support more than ever now.

There are now NINE Catalan political prisoners

  1. Jordi Cuixart i Navarro
  2. Jordi Sànchez Picanyol
  3. Oriol Junqueras i Vies
  4. Joaquim Forn Chiariello
  5. Dolors Bassa Coll
  6. Maria Carme Forcadell i Lluís
  7. Raül Romeva i Rueda
  8. Josep Rull i Andreu
  9. Jordi Turull i Negre

and SIX Catalan politician in exile

  1. Carles Puigdemont
  2. Meritxell Serret
  3. Antoni Comín
  4. Lluís Puig
  5. Clara Ponsatí
  6. Marta Rovira

It is reported that Spain has (re-)issued European Arrest Warrants for these exiles.

Roger Torrent appeals for a common front against authoritarianism in the Catalan parliament

Today’s sitting of the Catalan parliament was intended to be the second vote on the investiture of Jordi Turull as president, but after yesterday’s imprisonments became instead an appeal by presiding officer, Roger Torrent, for “a united front in defence of democracy and fundamental rights”. Making the appeal in the form of an institutional statement, he was joined on stage by representatives from Comuns, CUP, JxCat and ERC. Relatives of the newly imprisoned deputies were also in the chamber along with former presiding officers.

The escalation in violations of fundamental rights perpetrated by state institutions took a new step yesterday, unacceptable to all democrats…this is not a battle of flags, but of universal values.

Read the full English translation of Roger Torrent’s speech.

Anti-Repression event in Edinburgh focuses on Spain and Catalonia

A series of events in Edinburgh, called “III Anti-Repression Forum” and organised by Edinburgh in Protest, will take place tomorrow (Sat 24 Feb 2018) in Edinburgh and will focus mostly on state repression in Spain and Catalonia. Spanish rapper, Valtonyc, was to appear at the forum, both as a speaker at the daytime discussion and also headlining the benefit gig in the evening at Edinburgh’s Henry Cellars bar.

Shockingly Valtonyc was sentenced to three and a half years in prison yesterday in Spain’s Supreme Court under Spain’s repressive “gag law”. Spanish judiciary ruled that the rapper was guilty of “inciting terrorism” and “insulting the crown” through the lyrics of his songs and he is therefore unable to travel to Edinburgh to attend this event. Continue reading Anti-Repression event in Edinburgh focuses on Spain and Catalonia