Artur Mas: ‘this is a political trial, that has very little foundation in law’

05.02.2017 - 14:01
Actualització: 05.02.2017 - 15:01

La premsa lliure no la paga el govern, la paguen els lectors

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Spain’s use of the courts will be once again at the centre of civil mobilisations this Monday. Under the motto ‘Love Democracy’, the main pro-independence associations 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 to show the citizens’ support for those politics who have been summonsed for allowing the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014.

Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, and former Catalan Ministers Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau will testify before the court for allegedly disobeying the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) and putting out the ballot boxes in a non-binding consultation. The trial has been regarded as a political attack to stop Catalonia’s pro-independence aspirations and has to be added to the recent summonsing last December, of Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, for allowing a debate on independence in the Catalan Chamber.

So far, nearly 40,000 people have joined the ‘Love Democracy’ initiative and are expected to fill Barcelona’s Lluís Companys Avenue, where Catalonia’s Supreme Court is located. According to the organisers, the aim of the campaign is to “reach all audiences by using an English motto” and “put Catalonia at the centre of the defence of democracy”. In November, around 80,000 people gathered together to rally against Spain’s judicialisation of politics and the summonsing of several elected representatives.

‘Love Democracy’ aims to be a pacifist outcry, inspired by the “historical pacifist movements” and the organisers name Gandhi and Luther King as examples. The motto is also a tribute to Catalan musician, Pau Casals, who assured that “Catalans love democracy” during his speech in the UN in 1971, when he was awarded the Golden Medal.

Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, will also attend the rally, together with Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, representatives from the Catalan Executive, governing party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ MPs and other political and civil representatives.

A ‘political trial’
According to Mas, the summonsing is “a political trial that has very little foundation in law” and is therefore regarded as an attack against Catalonia’s pro-independence aspirations and against the citizens’ right to decide. The Public Prosecutor wants Mas to be banned from public office for 10 years and claims that the former Catalan President, Ortega and Rigau “were fully aware”that by preparing the non-binding consultation “they were breaking the mandatory rulings of the Spanish Constitutional Court”.

Comparisons to Forcadell case
The summonses over the 9-N symbolic vote have to be added to other examples of public representatives facing trial. One of the most recent took place last December, when the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, 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.

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