Leaked judges' emails spark mixed reactions

Pro-independence parties outraged, whilst others come to magistrates' defence

Outside the Spanish Supreme Court (by ACN)
Outside the Spanish Supreme Court (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 20, 2018 01:39 PM

The reactions are out for the leaked Spanish judges' emails discrediting the pro-independence movement in Catalonia. Some of them refer to last October’s referendum as a "coup d'état" and compare the political situation in Catalonia with that of Nazi Germany. "With putschists there is no negotiating, there is no dialogue," one read.

The messages have caused outrage amongst pro-independence parties, whilst others have come to the judges' defence. 

"Anything goes" when Spain's unity attacked 

The vice-president Pere Aragonès has said that the messages demonstrate that "anything goes" for the Spanish judiciary when Spain's unity is under attack.

"There is a consensus between certain powers in Spain that its unity goes beyond the rule of law," he lamented in an interview with Catalan radio station Rac1 on Thursday.

In his view, pro-independence officials feel defenceless. He called on the General Council of Judicial Power (CGPJ) to launch an internal investigation. 

Full support 

Meanwhile, the leader of Ciutadans, Albert Rivera, expressed his "full support" for the judges and any other "public servants who have defended the state."

He also "condemned" that "what happened [last] September 20" is "celebrated" because "in a democracy, Guardia Civil cars are not destroyed, nor are judges surrounded," and in a ministry of economy "documents for organizing a coup d'état cannot be found." 

"Regrettable" but not majority opinion 

A spokeswoman for Judges for Democracy, Montserrat Comas, said that the messages discrediting the Catalan independence movement are "regrettable". She assured, however, that the views expressed in the emails do not represent the majority of the judiciary.

She explained that she also has access to these messages found in a corporate forum that includes 5,000 magistrates. Out of all of them, Comas said on Catalunya Radio, only thirty expressed these opinions regarding the independence movement.   

Cheap democracy 

For Joan Tardà, Esquerra Republicana's (ERC) spokesman in the Spanish congress, the news came as no surprise.  "In Spain there is no separation of powers," he said on Catalunya Radio. "The judiciary has not been democratized, and the Supreme Court has been corrupt in its functions."

"They want to make us believe that we live in a democracy of excellence, but it is low cost," he added. He is to question the Spanish justice minister Dolores Delgado in congress regarding the controversy. 

A call for explanations 

Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) spokesman Eduard Pujol has demanded urgent explanations from Delgado. He criticized that the Spanish judiciary's silence on the matter shows that it is "shamefully complicit".

Speaking at a press conference in parliament, Pujol also called on the CPGJ to investigate what he deemed as attitudes with a "Francoist tic." 

"Politicized" judicial system 

The judges' published conversations show that the Spanish "judicial system is impregnated with reactionary ideology," according to foreign affairs minister Ernest Maragall.

Speaking to the Spanish radio station Onda Cero, he stated that Spain's judiciary is "politicized." 

Judges' opinions "shared by most Catalans" 

Xavier García Albiol, leader of the People's Party in Catalonia (PPC) defended the judges' messages saying that "they express a feeling shared by most Catalans and the immense majority of Spaniards."

"What some judges write in their messages is what we write and what the majority of us Catalans who are not pro-independence think," he stated, adding that the opinions they expressed are "private".