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1 de jul. 2018

Telepolis: English translation of "Spanien klagt Puigdemont und 12 katalanische Politiker wegen Rebellion an" by Ralf Streck (28 JUN 2018)

This my English translation of an article, "Spanien klagt Puigdemont und 12 katalanische Politiker wegen Rebellion an", published in German on June 28 2018. I hope Ralf Streck does not object.
Click here if need be to read the whole post

Spain accuses Puigdemont and 12 Catalan politicians of rebellion
By Ralf Streck on June 28, 2018 07:00

Absurd allegations are made and the next step is to suspend seven Catalan parliamentarians in jail or exile

Nothing budges the Spanish investigating judge Pablo Llarena and his Supreme Court from their absurd allegations against Catalan politicians. In a ruling, the Supreme Court considers the Llarena charge of rebellion against former Catalan Prime Minister Carles Puigdemont and 12 of his comrades to be "realistic enough". There has allegedly been "an uprising" with an "abuse of power" to secure the independence of Catalonia from Spain, three judges in the Supreme Court argue in a ruling announced on Wednesday.

With these descriptions, the Court tries to circumvent the fact that a rebellion in Spain requires a "violent public uprising". This is the literal text in the rebellion article, which was included in the Criminal Code in 1995. When the Social Democrat Diego López Garrido drafted the article, he had in mind the 1936 generals' coup under Franco against the republic and the attempted coup in 1981, when the paramilitary Guardia Civil stormed the Spanish Parliament. So Garrido also considers the rebellion charges against the Catalans unwarranted. Leading constitutionalists consider this accusation to be simply grotesque. Javier Pérez Royo says advocating non-violently for the goal of independence of a region cannot be a rebellion: "There can be no rebellion without violence," said the Andalusian professor, in the light of the non-violent protests in Catalonia.

What does not fit is made suitable by the Supreme Court

Against this arbitrariness cases have been filed against Llarena and three judges of the Appeals Chamber. Llarena himself will soon have to appear before a court in Belgium. There, his extradition requests against three former ministers of the Catalan government, two of whom continue to be charged with rebellion, were denied.

Contrary to the legal text for rebellion, the three judges Miguel Colmenero, Alberto Jorge Barreiro and Vicente Magro have now rustled up a "rebellion without weapons". It is not "outlandish" to claim that, considering the independence process in Catalonia, when it comes from the authorities of an autonomous region.

Since the argument is more than weak, the judges continue to cling to an alleged violence "against people," as the many "casualties" show. However, these are the countless numbers of people shot at by the security forces with illegal rubber bullets or beaten up in a "military-type operation" when Spain brutally tried to prevent the independence referendum last 1 October. Thus, a violent uprising of the Catalans is caused by the violence of the security forces.

Even if one follows the abstruse argument of the three judges, then the last straw is the completely absurd case of the "Jordis". For Cuixart and Sànchez were not in the government. They were not even members of the parliamentary Bureau, which, like former President Carme Forcadell, is also being charged with rebellion. The Jordis did not even sit in parliament. They were or are (as in the case of Cuixart) presidents of civil society organizations and were already in jail when the Republic was eventually announced on 27 October 2017.

In all, 12 Catalan politicians and activists will be charged with rebellion alongside former Catalan President Puigdemont, who is in exile in Germany. The next step is that the hardliner Llarena will request and enforce the suspension of seven members of parliament. In addition to Puigdemont, this will also affect the exiled Toni Comín, who is in Belgium. It will also affect five pre-trial prisoners, some of whom have been in gaol since last October, such as Puigdemont's former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, head of the Republican Left (ERC), and former ministers Raül Romeva, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull.

Judge Llarena had already thwarted the exercise of their political rights since the forced elections on 21 December, using all means and abstruse reasoning. He violated the requirements of the UN Human Rights Committee. Llarena had not even let Jordi Sànchez into parliament so that he could be elected Catalan president, and had Jordi Turull imprisoned quickly to prevent his election as president in the second ballot.

The Supreme Court is getting increasingly stuck in a dead end and is clinging to the allegations, to sentence those the Spanish judiciary has its hands on for up to 30 years. For those in exile, things are rather bad for the Spanish judiciary. Belgium has already rejected deliveries following Llarenas' European arrest warrant. In Switzerland, the signs for Llarena are also very bad in the case of ERC General Secretary Marta Rovira. The Confederates have long made it clear that it will not extradite on political charges and also rejected an attempt to exchange prisoners.

For Britain to hand over Clara Ponsatí to Spain for alleged rebellion, is as unlikely as is Puigdemont's extradition. He will stay in Germany until the final decision. Because of numerous threats, sometimes being mobbed by Spanish tourists, he has now left Berlin and is now in Hamburg, where he is also closer to the Schleswig-Holstein High Regional Court.

The court had quickly described the rebellion allegations as "inadmissible from the outset". The attempt by the Supreme Court in Spain, to mitigate "turmoil", as was initially the only charge for the "Jordis" issued the judges in Schleswig, also already received a clear rebuff.

The judges also do not see breaches of the peace as a comparable act, since violence is also necessary for this. At best, they see "disputes inside and in front of individual polling stations (out of a total of 2,500)" which, although they could constitute a breach of the peace for those "directly involved", are not attributable to Puigdemont or other defendants. In addition, the Catalan government has always called for strict non-violence. The German judges have even expressed considerable doubts even about an extradition for misuse of public funds. For Spain cannot prove that tax money was spent on the referendum.

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