Puigdemnot, and the Prosecution of Political Opponents in Catalonia

The Spanish state already jailed two Catalan dissidents 2-weeks ago, and has a long history of using the judiciary to enforce the views of the government.

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Catalonia
The Catalan president, Artur Mas, may be facing charges after defying a court injunction and holding a regional vote on secession from Spain. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

Catalan president Puigdemnot appeared on TV from Belgium, claiming he was there to get the voice of the Catalans heard, and to escape prosecution by Spain [1]. Believing the president was just being dramatic, some in the media were skeptical.

This is far from the truth. The Spanish state already jailed two Catalan dissidents 2-weeks ago [2], and has a long history of using the judiciary to enforce the views of the government. The last president of Catalonia was fined and barred from holding public office for similar reasons [3]. 80-years ago, the democratically elected president of Catalonia was jailed and then executed [4].

Puigdemnot offered to make his declaration to the Spanish judge online, which is legal. However, the prosecution denied the request.

Fast forward to Thursday; eight political leaders were arrested and sent to jail even though they committed no crime [5]. They had followed their pre-electoral promises of organizing a binding referendum of self-determination for Catalonia.

 

Catalonia
Former members of the Catalan government arrive at Spain’s national court in Madrid. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

 

The Spanish government claims charges like rebellion or sedition, but it is important to note that the people arrested preached non-violence. They tried over and over to negotiate with the Spanish government.

In fact, when faced with the choice of whether to pass laws allowing the Catalan police to protect them from the Spanish, they chose to stand down to prevent violence. Many people were willing to be human shields so that the Spanish police could not arrest their democratically elected leaders. But those leaders chose not to let people be in harm’s way again.

This is not only chilling, it is also an attempt to change the outcome of the next Catalan elections:

The Spanish government is forcing the Catalan government to have elections on the 21st of December. They’re afraid pro-independence forces will sweep again, and are trying to change the outcome of the elections by jailing the most popular and charismatic leaders.  Their hope is that more pro-Spain people may end up in positions of power.

Even those who are pro-Catalonia may be afraid to act if elected since they will know they will risk prison time. The goal of the Spanish government is to intimidate political opponents and if that is not possible, remove them. They are afraid of the people, and are trying to make the people afraid of them.

Report by: AnonFire

 


Sources:

–          “Catalan leaders facing rebellion charges flee to Belgium” the guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/30/spanish-prosecutor-calls-for-rebellion-charges-against-catalan-leaders

–          “”We do not want a Spain with political prisoners”: Podemos and the Catalan and Basque parties join forces in Congress” Ara. https://www.ara.cat/en/Spain-Podemos-Catalan-Basque-Congress_0_1889211310.html

–          “Catalan ex-president Artur Mas barred from holding public office” the guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/13/catalan-ex-president-artur-mas-barred-from-holding-public-office

–          “1940: Lluis Companys, Catalan president” executedtoday. http://www.executedtoday.com/2013/10/15/1940-lluis-companys-catalan-president/

–          “Catalonia crisis: Spain jails eight sacked Catalan ministers” Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catalonia-spain-catalan-carles-puigdemont-jailed-ministers-rebellion-independence-referendum-a8034056.html


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