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Spain's main prosecutor to fight self-determination as Enlightenment fought "evils" of "obscurantism, fanaticism and tyranny"

"We have to fight the same evils as the Enlightenment: obscurantism, fanaticism and tyranny", stated Consuelo Madrigal, the Director of Spain's Public Prosecution office – directly appointed by the Spanish Government – when  referring to Catalonia's self-determination process on Thursday in Madrid. Madrigal also added that the Spanish institutions and "the rule of law" have also to fight against the "deviations and errors" of the Catalan self-determination process. However, despite these strong words, she nuanced her statement by stressing something which should be obvious in any democratic country: she "will not prosecute intentions" such as the road map that pro-independence parties have agreed upon. Madrigal also referred to the prosecution launched against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, for the symbolic consultation vote on independence held on 9 November last.

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01 May 2015 09:36 AM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- "We have to fight the same evils as the Enlightenment: obscurantism, fanaticism and tyranny", stated Consuelo Madrigal, the Director of Spain's Public Prosecution office – directly appointed by the Spanish Government – when referring to Catalonia's self-determination process on Thursday in Madrid. Madrigal also added that the Spanish institutions and "the rule of law" have also to fight against the "deviations and errors" of the Catalan self-determination process. However, despite these strong words, she nuanced her statement by stressing something which should be obvious in any democratic country: she "will not prosecute intentions, nor political declarations", such as the road map that pro-independence parties have agreed upon, as her job is to prosecute crimes. The previous Director of the Public Prosecution Office, Eduardo Torres-Dulce, was pressured by the Spanish Government and Spanish nationalist politicians – mostly from the government People's Party (PP) – to press charges against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, for the symbolic consultation vote on independence held on 9 November last. Ultimately, Torres-Dulce did prosecute the Catalan President – as well as the Catalan Vice President and the Catalan Minister for Education – but resigned a few days after doing so, with Madrigal being appointed by the Spanish Government as his replacement.


The Director of the Public Prosecution Office of Spain said on Thursday that "the combat against" Catalan self-determination has to be fought "with weapons" such as "the principles of the Enlightenment: legality, the Law as product of the people's will, critical reasoning and tolerance". Madrigal urged everybody to undertake "a serene debate", where "differences can be admitted" and can be "raised to a superior level through dialogue", "reforming things that work in a wrong way" and "never using ways of violence or consummated facts".

However, Madrigal did not seem to support these statements with her other words, quite the contrary. In addition, she has sided with the no-to-everything attitude of the Spanish Government during the last two-and-a-half years, in which it has refused outright to sit and talk about Catalonia's democratic self-determination claims, expressed through massive, peaceful and cheerful demonstrations and through the results of the last Catalan elections, held in November 2012.

Back then, 80% of the newly-elected Catalan Parliament had run in the elections supporting the organisation of a legal self-determination vote in Catalonia. Despite the clear electoral results, the Spanish Government ignored this unequivocal and strong democratic mandate. Instead, it used a biased and restrictive interpretation of the Constitution to forbid Catalonia from holding a self-determination vote or to even negotiate how such a vote could be made possible. The Spanish Government never sat at the negotiating table and, in fact, denied the existence of any such negotiating table or of anything to be negotiated. Instead, it imposed a no-to-everything attitude and a recentralisation strategy, using the fact that Catalans represent 15.9% of the Spanish population – and therefore will always be a minority – and that the PP holds an absolute majority in the Spanish Parliament anyway.

On Thursday, Madrigal showed clearly how the main Spanish institutions understand respect for the different political opinions and the will of dialogue they are talking about, when she compared Catalonia's self-determination "to the evils the Enlightenment fought". And she explicitly mentioned "obscurantism, fanaticism and tyranny" as examples of such evils, which, according to her, are shared by the Catalan self-determination process.

According to Madrigal, "those who talk about freedom to violate the Law are undertaking a dangerous demagogy", she added. In this vein, she said that the judicial process against the Catalan President for the symbolic and non-binding consultation vote on Catalonia's future, which was held on 9 November, is following its "normal" course of action and with the participation of the Public Prosecution office. Madrigal added that "it is likely" that there will be some developments in the case in the future, although she does not know which developments these will be, she said.

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  • The Director of Spain'sPublic Prosecution Office, Consuelo Madrigal (by ACN)

  • The Director of Spain'sPublic Prosecution Office, Consuelo Madrigal (by ACN)