Judge dismisses Puigdemont's suit against men who threatened him from a tank
Magistrate was also critical of the former president, the pro-independence movement and the Catalan police
A judge in the Spanish city of Zaragoza has dismissed a suit brought by former president, Carles Puigdemont, against two men who posted a video on social media showing them on top of a tank threatening the Catalan leader, before going on to criticize the independence movement, Puigdemont, and the Catalan police.
The 30-second video recorded in a Zaragoza military base in December shows the men on the tank, with one speaking into the camera, saying he had found "the solution to Spain's problems," pointing to the tank's cannon, and adding "we have a surprise for Puigdemont."
Yet, the judge dismissed the case, calling the viral video a "farce without any intimidatory value" that represents no sort of threat, insult or hate crime, as Puigdemont claimed in the suit. The former president can appeal the judge's ruling on the video, which he characterized as "criminally irrelevant."
Independence supporters "out-of-control"
Yet, in dismissing the case, judge Rafael Lasala Albasini also commented on the political events in Catalonia last autumn, for example, expressing his opinion on the referendum that took place on October 1, which he compared to "those held by the old political regime."
"[By moving to Brussels, Puigdemont] partially burst the balloon of heroic gestures with this conduct that lacked the daring, dignity and courage that Puigdemont asked [from the public]"
Judge Rafael Lasala Albasini
Lasala also referred to the events surrounding the independence bid as a "major institutional and civic crisis," and accused "out-of-control" independence supporters of destroying police cars during the raids of official buildings on September 20 last year.
The judge was also critical of the Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, accusing them of not doing enough to help the Guardia Civil officers who were carrying out the raids, and again "not intervening" to aid Spanish police on October 1 during the referendum.
Puigdemont "lacked courage"
Meanwhile, referring to the former president, Lasala said that by choosing exile in Brussels, he had "partially burst the balloon of heroic gestures with this conduct that lacked the daring, dignity and courage that Puigdemont asked from" the public.
In fact, the judge accuses Puigdemont of abandoning his fellow pro-independence leaders by "fleeing Spain, huddled in the trunk of a car, and leaving his colleagues before they testified as defendants."