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29 de març 2018

Imma Cabotí writes about Spain's onslaught on Catalonia

 Imma Cabotí has written (March 29 2018):

***To read the whole text, in English, click below on "Més informació" ***

“Alfred de Zayas, UN independent expert, recently claimed [1] "The right to self-determination is superior to that of a territory's integrity". Spain is signatory to the UN Covenant on Civil and Political rights and to the UN Charter and therefore it should have respected the right to self-determination of the Catalans. It has not done so and moreover, by acting violently against defenseless citizens on the 1st of October, it has violated the Treaty of Lisbon which defends the well-being of all EU citizens. 
Contrary to what most Spanish news outlets repeat ad nauseam, organizing a referendum is NOT a crime in Spain. It is true that in 2003, the Spanish Penal Code was reformed and that two new articles were introduced (Article 506 bis and Article 521 bis of the Código Penal) which turned the organization of a referendum without the Spanish government's consent into a punishable crime. [2] 

HOWEVER, these two articles were suspended only two years later, as they were deemed inappropriate and excessive. So since June 2005 and by LO (Organic Law), according to the Spanish Penal Code, organizing a referendum is NOT a crime [3]. 

So if the Spanish penal code does not forbid referenda and the Spanish Constitution does not reference them, where does the problem lie? The problem lies in a politicized Constitutional Court. Its proper purpose is to apply an independent interpretation of the Spanish Constitution; however, sadly it has become a tool of the government. It has lost all independence and simply bows to the will of the government - there is no separation of powers. This court was granted yet more "political" powers by an organic law reform in October 2015, as the Catalan movement was gaining pace. 

After the inexcusable use of violence in October against defenceless citizens and the application of Article 155 by the Rajoy government, the Spanish government called elections in Catalonia, which took place on the 21st of December. It is clear that Rajoy does not want to respect the outcome of those elections [4]. Many elected representatives have been arrested and imprisoned. Others have opted to leave Spain to escape pre-trial detentions.

Today, Germany, in response to the international arrest warrant, has arrested Catalan President Carles Puigdemont [5]. He faces the Spanish Government's charges of sedition and rebellion which by law require the use of violence. Puigdemont has always acted democratically and peacefully and he is still regarded Catalonia's legitimate president by a huge number of people. Again, this is yet another appalling abuse by the Spanish government, and the nasty echoes of a part of Spanish history which we all thought was well in the rear view mirror."

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