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Mas before the Court: "I'm the only one responsible for the 9-N consultation"

Catalan President, Artur Mas, appeared this Thursday before the court, after being summonsed by Catalonia's Supreme Court for organising the 9-N symbolic vote in 2014. "The success and international impact of the 9-N consultation is what motivated this lawsuit" he stated "this summons responds to the Spanish Government's anger rather than legal reasons". Mas arrived at Barcelona's Courthouse by foot and was joined by the 400 Catalan mayors from the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and the entire Catalan Government. Right in front of the Court, thousands of people displaying Catalan flags rallied around the President and openly showed their opposition to Catalonia's Supreme Court's decision to summons Mas, which has been regarded as a political decision. Mas appeared before the court two days after Catalan Minister for Education Irene Rigau and former vice-president Joana Ortega and right after attending the commemorative events for the 75th anniversary of President Companys' execution. 

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15 October 2015 01:53 PM

by

ACN / Sara Prim

Barcelona (CNA).- "The success of democracy should never end up in the court", stated President Mas, who appeared before the court this Thursday for organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence. Mas declared himself "responsible for having listened to the will of thousands of citizens" and added that the justice system will settle "whether being a democrat is the same as being a criminal". Mas arrived at the Court by foot and was joined by the 400 Catalan mayors from the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and the entire Catalan Government. In front of Barcelona's Courthouse, thousands of citizens, politicians and members of civil society displayed Catalan flags and openly expressed their opposition to the Court's decision to summons Mas, which has been regarded as a political decision. Mas appeared before the court two days after Catalan Minister for Education Irene Rigau and former vice-president Joana Ortega and right after attending the commemorative events for the 75th anniversary of President Companys' execution.


"I'm the only one responsible for the 9-N consultation" stated Mas, who appeared before the court this Thursday for organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence. "I don't understand why I am here, as I only have to give an explanation before the Parliament and am not on trial" he added. Mas, together with Catalan Minister for Education Irene Rigau and former vice-president Joana Ortega, was summonsed by Catalonia's Supreme Court and accused of disobeying the Rule of Law. This decision has been regarded as a political judgment to stop Catalonia's push for independence. 

"The success of democracy should never end up in the court"

"This is a political judgment" stated Mas and as such "it should be discussed before the Parliament rather than in a court".Mas also reminded those present that representatives from the Spanish Government, such as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Minister of Justice Rafael Catalá minimised the 9-N and assured that the Spanish executive won't impede the freedom of expression. The success and international impact of the 9-N consultation is what motivated this lawsuit" he stated "this summons responds to the Spanish Government's anger rather than legal reasons". "The success of democracy should never end up in the court".

"I'm responsible for having listened to the will of thousands of people"

Mas admitted being the "political promoter" of the consultation, which was one of the "milestones" of his legislature. "I'm responsible for having listened to thousands of people who pacifically asked for their right to vote in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 via massive rallies" he stated, "I'm responsible for having listened to more than 90% of Catalonia's Town Halls, which asked to put out the ballot boxes on the 9th of November". Mas assured the Court that he behaved like a democrat and that now it would be the justice system's turn to settle "whether being a democrat is the same as being a criminal".

He recalled that the consultation was prohibited by the Spanish Constitutional Court and the Catalan government was forced to turn it into a "participative process with far less guarantees" first and to anticipate elections to the Parliament later. According to Mas, after the Spanish Constitutional Court's suspension the Government started "an intense reflection process" and analysed the steps to take together with the jurdicial services. The initiative took on a voluntary nature and by the 4th of November "was unstoppable".

Thousands of people rally around the President

The hearings of those summonsed by Catalonia's Supreme Court for organising the 9-N consultation started on Tuesday when Catalan Minister for Education Irene Rigau and former vice-president Joana Ortega appeared before the court. Hundreds of citizens and many representatives from the Catalan Parliament expressed their opposition to the Court's decision to summons Rigau and Ortega and on Thursday the crowd gathered in front of Barcelona's Courthouse was even larger. Thousands of people joined President Mas on his way to the Court and openly expressed their support and willingness to declare themselves guilty for taking part in the 9-N consultation. Catalan flags were displayed amongst the crowd, as well as paper ballot boxes like those used in the 9-N. "Catalunya Independent, Mas President" was the slogan that could be heard the most, together with "Independència" and "Get out, Spanish Justice".

Representatives from pro-independence unitary list 'Junts Pel Sí', such as its top member Raül Romeva, left-wing ERC leader Oriol Junqueras and former Catalan National Assembly President, Carme Forcadell, also accompanied President Mas on his way to and from the Court. Radical left CUP leader, Antonio Baños, liberal party representatives Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, the Catalan National Assembly’s current President Jordi Sánchez and president of the Catalan Parliament Núria de Gispert also rallied around the Catalan President.

Rajoy considered the citizens' protests "inacceptable"

Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy referred to the citizen's protests in front of Barcelona's Courthouse this Thursday as "threats and intimidating presences". "To threaten the court with demonstrations is absolutely unacceptable in a democratic country such as Spain" he stated, after attending European People's Party meeting in Brussels. "It is a must for every democrat to accept the legal decisions" and "Mas is not an exception" he warned.

According to Catalan People's Party (PPC) leader, Xavier García Albiol, this Thursday's protests were "a desperate reaction of pro-independence supporters" and considered such show of support as "typical from dictatorships". "The President is not a democrat; is an irresponsible" stated Albiol and warned that if "his attitude persists" the correspondent "political decisions will be applied".

Spanish Socialist Party: "Mas is breaking Catalonia"

Spanish Socialist Party leader, Pedro Sánchez, accused President Mas of putting Catalonia "outside the law" and trying to "break" the country "in a social and emotional scale". After attending a meeting of the European Socialist and Democrats in Brussels, Sánchez recommended Mariano Rajoy to resolve the Catalan crisis through politics rather than "hiding behind the institutions and the court". 

Homage to President Companys

Earlier in the morning, President Mas attended the institutional commemorative events to pay tribute to President Companys, who was executed by fascist troops in Barcelona 75 years ago today.

Together with Barcelona Mayor's, Ada Colau, and representatives from the Catalan Parliament and Barcelona's Town Hall, they placed flower offerings at 'Fossar de Santa Eulàlia' the exact place where Companys was killed by firing squad, in Barcelona's Montjuic Castle. All the MPs commemorated Companys and highlighted his legacy and his fight for Catalonia's freedom.

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  • Members of the Catalan Government paid tribute to President Companys' on the 75th anniversary of his execution (by ACN)

  • Catalan President, Artur Mas, after leaving Barcelona Courthouse last October (by ACN)

  • Members of the Catalan Government paid tribute to President Companys' on the 75th anniversary of his execution (by ACN)
  • Catalan President, Artur Mas, after leaving Barcelona Courthouse last October (by ACN)
Mas appears before the court for organising 9-N consultation