joana ortega

Former Spanish Minister aimed to stop symbolic referendum by force

May 10, 2017 05:36 PM | ACN

Former Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Garcia Margallo, wanted to stop the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014 by force, he said Wednesday during a conference with former Catalan VP, Joana Ortega. Ortega was recently banned from public office by the Spanish Constitutional Court precisely for allowing the non-official referendum. According to Margallo’s version, he suggested the Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy and the Spanish Minister for Home Affairs at the time, Jorge Fernández Díaz, suspend the consultation by taking over the Catalan Police and destroying the ballot boxes. He added that not following his advice “was a mistake” and recommended a similar action to stop the referendum scheduled for September 2017. A vote which Rajoy rejected again this Wednesday in the Spanish Parliament.

Catalan leaders sentenced over independence vote say fundamental rights violated

March 21, 2017 02:22 PM | ACN

The sentences regarding the November 9th, 2014 vote on independence, including hefty fines and a ban from public office of the main political leaders responsible, may violate fundamental rights say the lawyers of former Catalan President, Artur Mas, Catalan VP Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau. They have appealed to Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC). Last week, Mas was sentenced to a two-year ban from holding public office and fined €36,500 for allowing the non-binding consultation to take place in 2014. Ortega and Rigau were also banned from taking public office for a period of 1 year and 9 months and 1 year and 6 months and fined €30,000 and €24,000, respectively.

MEPs consider Catalan independence vote sentencing “reprehensible” and “worrying”

March 17, 2017 02:20 PM | ACN

Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, former Catalan Vice President Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau have received severe fines and have been banned from public office for allowing the 9-N symbolic vote on Catalan independence in 2014. “It’s a matter of regret,” Scottish MEP Alyn Smith, from the Greens/European Free Alliance group told the CNA who lamented Spain “dealing with democracy through the court”. “I find it wrong,” said European Conservatives and Reformists Group MEP Ian Duncan and admitted he was “deeply troubled” by the decision. Co-Chair for the Greens/European Free Alliance, Philippe Lamberts, lamented “the stubbornness of the Spanish authorities toward Catalonia” and insisted that Madrid’s attitude “is making dialogue nearly impossible”.

Mas, Ortega and Rigau could show the world “how weak democracy is in Spain”

March 15, 2017 08:44 AM | ACN

Catalan Government Spokeswoman, Neus Munté, referred this Tuesday to the Constitutional Court’s decision to ban from public office the political figures responsible for the 9-N symbolic vote on independence, which took place in 2014. According to Munté, sentencing former Catalan President Artur Mas, former Vice President Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister for Education Irene Rigau for allowing the non-binding consultation “confirm the Spanish State’s absolute lack of willingness to find a political solution” to Catalonia’s aspirations. However, far from “disqualifying” them, Munté assured that the Government “counts on” the three summonsed “to explain” to the world “how weak democracy is in Spain".

Homs at 9-N trial: “We couldn’t do anything else, freedom was at stake”

February 27, 2017 06:17 PM | ACN

Former Catalan Minister for Presidency and Catalan European Democratic Party (PDCeCAT) spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, testified before the Spanish Supreme Court this Monday over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence, which took place in 2014. Homs responded to the Public Prosecutor’s accusation of disobedience and perversion of justice for co-organising the consultation and insisted that the resolution from the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) “was not concrete”. Moreover, he assured that the executive “couldn’t do any anything else” but allow the symbolic vote to take place, since “ideological freedom and freedom of speech were at stake”. Homs said he admitted to “all the acts” he is accused of “and even more”, but doubted that they “constitute a crime”. In early February, former Catalan President, Artur Mas, and former Catalan Ministers Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega already testified before Barcelona’s High Court over the same case.

Homs enters the court rallied around by hundreds of supporters

February 27, 2017 10:27 AM | ACN / Sara Prim

The judicial process against Catalan politicians that helped to organise the non-binding consultation on independence on the 9th of November 2014 continues. This Monday, former Catalan Government spokesman and MP for the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDCeCAT) testifies before the Spanish Supreme Court for disobedience and perversion of justice when co-organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence, in which 2.3 million citizens expressed their opinion about Catalonia’s political future. The Prosecutor’s temporary conclusions stated that Homs “didn’t suspend any of the articles which allowed the consultation to take place and which were accountable to the Department of the Presidency” which Homs led at that time. The document emphasises that former Catalan President, Artur Mas’ right-hand man was “absolutely aware” that “by doing so he violated the mandatory compliance of the Spanish Constitutional Court’s decisions”. Thus, the Prosecutor demands a 9-year ban from public office.

Puigdemont: “Spanish democracy has gotten sick”

February 8, 2017 01:02 PM | ACN

Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, opened this Wednesday’s plenary session in the Parliament and commented on the trial over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence, which is taking place this week. “Spanish democracy has gotten sick” he said and accused the Spanish State of taking former Catalan President, Artur Mas and former Catalan Minsters, Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega before the court “without blushing” in what he considered “a political trial”. According to Puigdemont, Mas, Rigau and Ortega “are guilty of believing in the Parliament and listening to the citizens” and compared the trial with the “impunity” with which recent events such as former Spanish Minister for Home Affairs, Jorge Fernández Diaz’s smear conspiracy against pro-independence parties seem to be tolerated. Puigdemont also criticised Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy’s willingness to dialogue with US President, Donald Trump and other leaders in Europe and Latin America but not with Catalonia.

9-N trial proceedings focus now on Ministry for Education’s role

February 7, 2017 02:25 PM | ACN


The trial over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014, which took before Barcelona’s High Court former Catalan President Artur Mas amongst other members of the Government continues. This Tuesday, after Mas and former Catalan Ministers Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega’s testimony, the judges are analysing the role of the Catalan Ministry for Education in the non-binding consultation and several education inspectors and high school directors have testified on this matter. The magistrates aim to find out whether the cession of educative centre as polling stations on the consultation day constituted a crime. The Public Prosecutor has accused Mas, Ortega and Rigau of disobedience and breach of trust for allegedly ignoring the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) ban over the 9-N symbolic vote.

Catalan representatives over 9-N trial: “Voting can’t be considered a crime in any democratic country”

February 6, 2017 06:03 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Many political representatives extended their support to former Catalan President, Artur Mas and Catalan Ministers Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau, who faced trial this Monday for allowing the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014. “This trial should have never happened”, stated Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell and added that “putting out the ballot boxes can’t be considered a crime in any democratic country”. Indeed, Forcadell herself testified before the court for allowing the debate on Catalonia’s independence in the Catalan Chamber. The case produced not only a huge popular outrage but also international reaction. Members from the Catalan Executive and representatives from all those parties which expressed in favour of holding the 9-N non-binding referendum, showed their solidarity with the three accused and lamented that what was on trial this Monday was democracy as a whole.