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
Jordi Cuixart i Navarro
Jordi Sànchez Picanyol
Oriol Junqueras i Vies
Joaquim Forn Chiariello
Dolors Bassa Coll
Maria Carme Forcadell i Lluís
Raül Romeva i Rueda
Josep Rull i Andreu
Jordi Turull i Negre
and SIX Catalan politician in exile
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.
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.
As was expected, Oriol Junqueras has been unsuccessful in appealing the precautionary imprisonment measure imposed on him, initially by the Spanish National Court and subsequently by the Spanish Supreme Court. In their 27-page ruling, the three magistrates were unanimous in their decision and cited a risk of “re-offending” as the foundation for keeping the elected politician in jail before trial. Continue reading Junqueras appeal is rejected unanimously
An appeal against Oriol Junqueras’s precautionary imprisonment was heard in the Spanish Supreme Court today, with the panel of three magistrates retiring at the close of arguments to consider their decision, which won’t be announced till tomorrow (Fri 5 Jan 2018) at the earliest.
An argument for Junqueras’s release was presented by his lawyer, Andreu van den Eynde, followed by the prosecution team making a case for the continued imprisonment of the elected member of parliament. Junqueras himself was able to say a few words at the end.
Here are the final numbers from Catalonia’s unique 21-D election, contested with many of the candidates either in prison, on bail or in exile, once all votes were counted. Note that the last of the 18 seats in Tarragona was oscillating between Ciutadans and PP as the final votes were coming in and it ended up being secured by PP, bringing their final tally of seats to 4. Note also that the record-breaking turnout figure didn’t break through 80% as first predicted, but is measured at 79.04%.
We send our letters and cards to the prisoners in Madrid as a simple act of support and solidarity, with no expectation of receiving replies, as the prisoners may receive hundreds of letters and have limited resources for stamps especially for international mail. I was therefore gobsmacked yesterday (election day 21 December of all days) to receive a letter from the prison in Estremera from Joaquim Forn.
Estremera, 2 Dec 2017
Thank you very much for your kind words, your good wishes and solidarity.
Thanks for all you are doing in order to make our situation known all around the world.
It’s really important for us that the repression we are suffering is worldwidely known.
Specially because it is one EU Member State which is exercising it in front of the silence of the other states.
Ours is a peaceful fight for democracy and the answer of the state structures is absolutely oversized.
When he was remanded in custody in a Madrid prison charged with sedition on 16 October 2017, Jordi Sànchez was president of the Catalan grassroots organisation Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC). A month later he stood down from that role to enter an election campaign for his first time, appearing as no. 2 candidate on the Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) list for Barcelona at the 21 December 2017 election, just below no. 1 candidate, deposed president Carles Puigdemont.
I travelled to Brussels this week to experience, document and show solidarity with the characteristically well-organised and good-natured Catalan #OmplimBrussel·les mobilisation to fill the streets of the administrative capital of the European Union. They aimed to place the democratic crisis faced by Catalonia front and centre before the gaze of EU states and their citizens.
The numbers exceeded expectations with an incredible 45,000 or more Catalans making the trip by all means of transport, with nearly everyone sporting bright yellow scarfs or coats to show solidarity with those charged with sedition and those in prison. Many banners presented the message that this is a political conflict which requires dialogue and political solutions, not further state repression, police brutality or judicial pursuit of rather twisted sedition and rebellion charges.
As I arrived at the Parc du Cinquantenaire there was a carnival atmosphere despite the bitter cold and light but persistent rain. Chatting to some women (pictured), one of them presented me with a letter in an envelope. At first I thought it was related to the political prisoners, but when I opened it later, it revealed a personal statement from the woman written in Catalan and English, expressing how she grew up feeling both Spanish and Catalan, but has now reached a point, at which she no longer feels Spanish. She had a bundle of these letters to hand out to people in Belgium – a very touching old school form of social media. Her personal statement for Catalan independence is reproduced below.
I’m Gertrudis: I’m 67 years old. Since I was a child I always said that I am “Catalan”, not for that reason I stopped being Spanish. For some years now, this feeling has changed and right now I do not feel Spanish at all. It is because of the contempt that they have had for our language and our traditions.
I was educated at a Religious School where the language spoken and taught was Spanish. At that time, it never seemed to me that it was a painful situation, it was “normal”, but it did not make me think differently about my Catalan language, which I’ve always loved.
I want to say that I am now a pro-independence because I believe that we deserve to be able to govern ourselves and not those who have always forgotten us.
In the wake of the release of six imprisoned ministers and the decision to continue to provisionally detain the four remaining Catalan political prisoners, many were surprised by Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena’s decision to withdraw the European Arrest Warrants for Carles Puigdemont and the other 4 Catalan ministers in exile in Belgium. We can speculate that the Belgian and Spanish justice systems hold quite different standards in due legal process and the judge had concerns that any extradition judgments which went against Spain in Belgium may influence the cases against the large group charged together with sedition (and rebellion and misuse of public funds in most cases).
However arrest warrants still remain in place for the 5 exiles in Belgium, should they return to Spain. The Spanish Supreme Court is now handling all these cases which include the following TWENTY people:
5 ministers in Belgium: Carles Puigdemont, Meritxell Serret, Antoni Comín, Lluís Puig and Clara Ponsatí
6 ministers recently released from Madrid prisons: Dolors Bassa, Meritxell Borràs, Raül Romeva, Carles Mundó, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull
2 ministers still in prison: Oriol Junqueras and Joaquim Forn
2 leading grassroots activists still in prison: Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart
5 members of the Catalan parliamentary bureau: Carme Forcadell, Lluís Corominas, Lluís Guinó, Anna Simó and Ramona Barrufet
We urge you to send Christmas cards or letters to the four people provisionally detained (see addresses below). Cards and letters should be posted to Spain by Friday 15 December 2017 to ensure they reach the prisoners before Christmas. Remember to include your name and address on the envelope.
Jordi Cuixart i Navarro
President of Òmnium Cultural
Jailed without bail: 16 Oct 2017
Jordi Cuixart i Navarro
Centro Penitenciario Madrid V
Ctra. M-609, km 3,5
28791 Soto del Real
Spanish supreme court judge Pablo Llarena delivered his decision to the 10 Catalan political prisoners’ legal teams this morning at 10am Spanish time. Six of the imprisoned Catalan ministers have been granted bail of €100,000 and should therefore be able to leave prison today.
Precautionary imprisonment has been retained for four of the prisoners: Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez, the two grassroots movement leaders in prison since 16 October, and two ministers from the deposed Catalan government, Oriol Junqueras (Vice President and Finance Minister) and Joaquim Forn (Interior Minister), who have been in prison since 2 November.