Spain ‘can’t guarantee judicial rights’ of its citizens, says Puigdemont in Dublin
The exiled former Catalan president spoke at a conference at Trinity College on Tuesday night where he denounced the incarceration and exile of leaders such as himself
Exiled former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont stated that Spain "can’t guarantee the judicial rights of its citizens” during a conference at Dublin’s Trinity College on Tuesday night. “Today, democracy in Spain is at risk because basic rights have been ‘de facto’ suspended,” continued the deposed leader, “and this represents a major threat to all Catalan and Spanish citizens, as well as to the European Union.”
In his speech, Puigdemont continued: “Beyond imprisonment and forced exile, a campaign that can only be described as judicial harassment is being carried out,” adding that what he called a “wave of repression” was “unbecoming of a nation that claims to be a constitutional democracy.” This, before the approximately 400 people in the lecture hall audience.
Speech goal to “explain dynamics” of “process”
Puigdemont explained that his speech had as a goal to “explain the dynamics of [Catalonia’s] political, democratic and profoundly pro-European process, with the firm, unwavering desire to pursue it at all times through dialogue and negotiation.”
The speech began and ended with a greeting in Irish, and included the leader’s explanation of Catalonia’s push for independence – starting with the death of Francisco Franco in ’75, to the restriction of the Statute of Autonomy in 2010, to the October 1 referendum, to current times.
Puigdemont expressed that he believed it had “become evident that the Spanish constitutional system has not only stopped evolving in the direction desired by the Catalan people, but has also started to regress, to work against Catalonia.” All of which, he said, “led millions of Catalans to reach the conclusion that the only way to guarantee the survival of our values as a society is for Catalonia to become an independent state.”
A “European problem”
In what Puigdemont described as “not a mere internal Spanish affair” but a “European problem,” the deposed president denounced the incarceration of the members of his former government as well as other leaders and the exile of himself and his former colleagues. “This is not an example of full democracy,” he proclaimed.
At Trinity College, the exiled leader also rejected the accusations of rebellion leveled against him and other leaders, as well as rejecting “violence in all its forms” in Catalonia’s push for independence. He further reiterated Catalonia’s proposal as “profoundly pro-European,” as well as its wish to become a European State.