Switzerland questions Tsunami Democratic case and refuses to locate pro-independence leader

Judge Manuel García-Castellón seeks to charge Marta Rovira with terrorism for her role in protest group

Marta Rovira, the General Secretary of pro-independence party Esquerra Republicana (ERC)
Marta Rovira, the General Secretary of pro-independence party Esquerra Republicana (ERC) / Bernat Vilaró
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

February 20, 2024 11:31 AM

February 20, 2024 12:53 PM

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice has questioned the investigation of the judge of the Spanish National Court, Manuel García-Castellón, regarding Marta Rovira in the case of Tsunami Democràtic.

Swiss authorities have refused to locate Rovira after Spain's National Court sent a letter in November asking them to find her.

Rovira, the secretary general of the pro-independence party Esquerra Republicana, has been living in exile in Switzerland since the independence push in 2017.

More information needed about Spanish investigation

In a written statement, the Swiss authorities state that the Spanish request of November 2023 is very similar to the 2019 request which was rejected, at the time. 

Instead, Switzerland is asking for more information about the new request “before being able to verify” whether García-Castellón’s petition is “political in nature.” 

Specifically, the Swiss authorities want to know why the Spanish judge wants information about Rovira’s Swiss bank movements dating until June 2020 when the scope of the investigation is related to the actions that took place at the Barcelona and Madrid airports on October 14, 2019. 

In addition, “for the sake of the principle of proportionality,” the Swiss authorities require to know the “exact relationship between Rovira and the demonstrations” at the two airports, stressing the importance of establishing a “precise implication” of the politician in the demonstrations, “and in particular, in the actions committed against Spanish civil servants, as well as the looting.”     

Relationship between Rovira and Tsunami “is unclear” 

Since an amnesty law is in the works, the Swiss authorities also express in their response that “it would be convenient” for the Spanish judge to lay out the possible consequences that the law would have to the proceedings against the members of Tsunami Democràtic as well as Mrs. Rovira,” adding that the relationship between Tsunami and the Catalan politician “is unclear.” 

Lastly, the authorities say that they don’t understand why the location of Rovira has been requested in court, “when this can be found out through the simple cooperation with the police,” adding “We don’t understand the goal of locating her.” 

Tsunami Democràtic investigation

Judge Manuel García-Castellón is investigating the actions of Tsunami Democràtic, a Catalan pro-independence activist group responsible for organizing massive demonstrations after the Catalan pro-independence movement leaders were sent to prison in October 2019

The judge is seeking terrorism charges against the organizers, including former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and Marta Rovira, considering Tsunami Democràtic a "structured and hierarchical organization" with the aim of "subverting Spain's constitutional order and destabilizing the state economically and politically through massive social protests."