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Prosecutor won’t sentence Mas, Ortega and Rigau to prison for the 9-N symbolic vote on independence

Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, along with former Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega and former Minister for Education, Irene Rigau won’t be accused for misappropriation of public funds in relation to the 9-N symbolic vote on independence. This is what the public prosecutor announced this Monday, after considering that the expenses related to the non-binding consultation were made before the suspension enacted by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). Nevertheless, the attorneys asked Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) to ignore the accused defences’ petition to file the case and summon the trio for the other crimes included in the lawsuit, which are alleged disobedience and perversion of justice.

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18 July 2016 04:21 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The public prosecutor won’t charge former Catalan President, Artur Mas, former Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega and former Minister for Education, Irene Rigau for misappropriation of public funds in relation to the 9-N symbolic vote on independence, which took place in 2014. Although this crime was included in the first lawsuit against the trio, the body understands now that the expenses related the organisation of the non-binding consultation were made before the Spanish Constitutional Court’s (TC) suspension. However, the attorneys urge Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) to ignore the appeals presented by the defences for the accused and summon them for alleged disobedience and perversion of justice. They consider that Mas, Ortega and Rigau “acted as if” the consultation had a voluntary nature but “it wasn’t actually like that”.


The public prosecutor considers that “the fact of committing to the expenses and hiring the required services prior to the TC’s suspension make this compromise legal at the time it was taken” and that “not paying what was committed” would have led to “the contractors’ complaints”.

Thus, considering the alleged crimes which are still included in the lawsuit, the accused could be banned from public service, but not imprisoned.

Accusation for alleged disobedience and perversion of justice to proceed

However, the prosecutor urges the TSJC to ignore the appeal made by the defences for the accused calling the judge to close the file. The attorneys consider that, after the suspension, the three politicians summonsed continued to be behind the organisation of the symbolic vote, and accuse them for alleged disobedience and perversion of justice. Moreover, the public prosecutor considers that Mas, Ortega and Rigau “acted as if” the consultation had a voluntary nature but “it wasn’t actually like that”.

Mas, Ortega and Rigau, who declared before Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) last October, admitted that because the consultation was prohibited by the Spanish Constitutional Court on the 4th of November, 5 days before the referendum was due to take place, the Catalan government was forced to turn it into a "participative process with far less guarantees", stated former Catalan President, Artur Mas, during his trial. 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 judicial services. The initiative took on a voluntary nature, and by the 4th of November it "was unstoppable".

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

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