judicialisation of politics

Case reopened against Mayor for not taking down pro-independence flag

May 19, 2017 01:18 PM | ACN

The case against Montse Venturòs, the Mayor of Berga, for not taking down the Catalan pro-independence flag from the City Hall building during elections has been reopened. Although Berga’s trial court decided not to pursue the case last March after considering that exhibiting the Catalan pro-independence flag was not “an act of propaganda” nor disobedience, the court has now accepted the appeal presented by the Public Prosecutor asking for the case to be reopened. Venturós lawyer and party colleague Benet Salellas from pro-independence CUP said that reopening the case proved “how deeply politicized the Spanish justice is and how legal procedures are the main battering ram against the pro-independence movement and the democratic demands of Catalan citizens”.

Conservative MEP calls for “mediation” between Catalonia and Spain and considers Forcadells' prosecution a "very hard" reaction

May 12, 2017 10:47 AM | ACN

MEPs from different parties have criticized the way the Spanish State has used the court to tackle Catalonia’s pro-independence aspirations, particularly this week as the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, and other members of the Chamber’s Bureau have been brought to court for allowing a debate on independence in the Parliament. According to Sinn Féin’s MEP, Matt Carthy, the Spanish State is “undermining its reputation across Europe” by taking public representatives to court. In a similar vein, European People’s Party MEP, Sipra Pietikäinen, said the reaction from the Spanish judiciary was “very strong” and called for “mediation” instead to overcome the current deadlock. Slovenian MEP Igor Soltes also criticized the EU role regarding these kinds of conflicts and lamented that “sometimes it is easier” for EU institutions to intervene “in foreign countries” such as Venezuela rather than doing so in Catalonia.

British MPs accuse Rajoy of breaching freedom of speech by prosecuting Forcadell

May 3, 2017 10:01 AM | ACN

The APPG group on Catalonia, created last March in the British Parliament by MPs from the main parties in Westminster, have sent a letter to Spain’s President, Mariano Rajoy, expressing their “concern” over the prosecution of the Catalan Parliament’s president, Carme Forcadell, who faces court “for simply permitting the debate” on independence in the Chamber. The signers consider it “a clear breach of the fundamental democratic right to free speech” and “urge” the Spanish Government “to drop the prosecution”. Forcadell was brought before the court in December accused of disobedience for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote among the Catalan MPs on the 27th of July and will face trial again on Monday for the same case.

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 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.

Public Prosecutor denies Spanish Government pressure over 9-N trial

February 10, 2017 03:06 PM | ACN

The last day of the 9-N trial over the symbolic vote on independence, which took place in 2014, saw the Public Prosecutor, Emilio Sánchez-Ulled’s conclusions. “It is enough of what has been organised around this”, stated Sánchez-Ulled and denied having been put under any pressure by the Spanish Government, as many who consider this trial a political one have repeatedly claimed. “I haven’t received any order [from the Spanish Government], believe it or not”, he said in a firm tone and added that he “wouldn’t have consented to it”. “If you believe it or not I don’t really care”, he added. “This trial is also democracy because democracy includes many more things than those explained here”, he added.

MEPs from all parties consider 9-N trial “counterproductive” and call for "political” solution

February 9, 2017 01:20 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 has provoked reactions within and outside of Catalonia. MEPs from all parties have told the CNA that Catalonia and Spain should look for “a political” solution to their differences rather than resorting to the court. “Politicising the judiciary is always a wrong way”, stated ECR MEP Mark Demesmaeker, and lamented “the EU institutions’ silence” on this matter. “Europe can give good solutions”, EPP MEP Csaba Sógor pointed out and called for the 27 Member States to “be on the side of peace, dialogue and negotiation”. According to Ana Gomes, from the Socialists and Democrats, Spain’s response to Catalonia’s political aspirations “doesn't dissuade pro-independence supporters, it does rather the contrary”.

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.

‘Love Democracy’, the pro-independence associations’ campaign to support summonsed politicians

February 3, 2017 07:26 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The main pro-independence civil society organisations in Catalonia, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural, the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and the Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM) have called for mobilisation once again. Under the motto ‘Love Democracy’ the associations aim to show the citizens’ support for former Catalan President, Artur Mas, who faces trial next Monday for allowing the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014, together with former Catalan Ministers Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau. So far, nearly 30,000 people have joined the initiative and are expected to fill Barcelona’s Lluís Companys Avenue, where Catalonia’s Supreme Court is located and where the summonsed will have to testify for alleged disobedience and perversion of justice. 

Forcadell says her trial “puts democracy at risk”

December 16, 2016 05:40 PM | ACN

“What happened today is inconceivable in a truly democratic state”, lamented this Friday the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell. In a press conference soon after testifying before Catalonia's Supreme Court for allowing a debate on independence in the Catalan Chamber on the 27th of July, Forcadell said that she considered her trial “another step” towards the Spanish State’s attempt to “violate the separation of powers”. Thus, from her point of view, what is really at stake with her trial is “democracy” rather than “the political future of a single person”. As a response, the Spanish Government’s Spokesman, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo warned that “saying that justice is not independent in the Spanish State is not only false but unfair towards the judges” and emphasised that “there is no impunity in Spain”.

Thousands hit the streets to defend Forcadell, prosecution provokes international outrage

December 15, 2016 08:45 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Thousands of citizens have expressed their support for Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, who faces trial on Friday for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote amongst the Catalan MPs. The main civil society pro-independence associations, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural, the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and also the Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM) have called on citizens to hit the streets throughout Catalonia to support Forcadell. One of the main rallies took place on Barcelona’s Sant Jaume Square, which is between the Catalan Government’s headquarters, Palau de la Generalitat, and the Catalan capital’s City Hall. The prosecution of Forcadell and the judicial response of the Spanish Government to Catalonia’s pro-independence aspiration have also provoked international rejection and criticism across Europe.

Puigdemont: “We will vote, debate and hold meetings”

December 15, 2016 06:29 PM | ACN

The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) suspension of the Parliament’s plan to call a referendum in Catalonia in September of next year has outraged many sectors of Catalan political and civil society. This Thursday, Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, stated that the TC’s decision “confirmed” the existence of “constitutional populism” in Spain which claims that “Catalans are not allowed to vote”. In response, assured Puigdemont, the Government will simply “apply democracy”. “Catalans have the right to vote, debate and hold meetings, therefore, we will vote, debate and hold meetings”, he stated. The Catalan President also took the chance to express his support and that of the whole executive for the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, who will face trial on Friday for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote in the Catalan Chamber last July.

Catalan MEPs report “democratic regression in Spain” and explain judicialisation of politics to the European Parliament

November 24, 2016 02:28 PM | ACN

Spain’s use of the courts to block the pro-independence roadmap has been reported to the 751 members of the European Parliament by three Catalan MEPs. Josep Maria Terricabras and Ernest Maragall, from left wing pro-independence party (ERC), and Ramon Tremosa, representing the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) have sent a letter to their colleagues in the Eurochamber lamenting what they describe as “democratic regression in Spain”. The letter criticised the summonsing of Catalan elected representatives, such as Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, for “allowing a parliamentary debate on independence”. It also laments that former Catalan MP and current PDeCat spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Frances Homs, faces trial for co-organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014.