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16 de des. 2018

Interview with defence lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas

English translation (by M.S.) of an interview with defence lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas: 'This is utterly ludicrous'
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Original:  https://www.vilaweb.cat/noticies/alonso-cuevillas-aixo-es-un-desproposit-absolut/


Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas: 'This is absolutely ludicrous'

By Josep Casulleras Nualart
02.11.2018 17:37

The lawyer analyzes the indictment documents of the Spanish public prosecutor's office and the State lawyers in this interview

A year ago, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas wrung his hands when he saw that Judge Carmen Lamela was locking up more than half the Government. Today, after reading the indictment writs of the Spanish public prosecutor and the State's lawyer against the independence leaders, he said that he was not surprised. For it's been over a year that the Spanish chief judges, the prosecutor's office, the Spanish government and the main media have simultaneously worked to construct an accusatory, condemnatory narrative against the protagonists of last year's Republican autumn. The lawyer of Carles Puigdemont and of the former Secretary General of the Interior ministry, César Puig, met VilaWeb shortly after the publication of the 1 October charges.

"Do the indictments confirm the script foreseen a year ago?"

"We had been waiting for weeks for them. No surprise. There was a moment when the Spanish government and the prosecutor-general changed, who we thought would make common sense prevail, but we abandoned that hope weeks ago. It is in the line we were expecting, which is that it is still utterly ludicrous. Everything starts by saying that there was no violence but they took on a risk that there could have been some, because there had already been violent acts on September 20. As to September 20, all we need to do is to watch the documentary '20 -S' to see that there was no violence, just as the German, Belgian and Scottish courts have said. Any court that was impartial would reject both rebellion and sedition out of hand."

"The tale of the facts as told by the public prosecutor's office is virtually a copy of that of Judge Llarena."

"Yes, but moreover, it neither specifies nor says when this uprising took place. For it begins in 2q012 with the White Paper for National Transition and then goes on to 2015 with the election. It explains - from Guifré el Pilós - practically the whole of history. At the end, it says that legality was broken, but it does not describes any violent uprising either. It says they took on the risk of violence."

"This raises plenty of eyebrows, because the description in the criminal code of the crime of rebellion is what it is, and yet this narrsative of the facts attempts to justify rebellion as something potential."

"That is why Germany said no with that rotundity. The fact is there has been no rebellion. Apart from the fact that it is considered everywhere - and even the Constitutional Court said as much - that rebellion requires the use of weapons or explosives. But it doesn't matter. Even if you were to accept that there could be a rebellion without weapons, which it deliberately does not say, the fact is there has been no violence."

"In the public prosecutor's charges, Carles Puigdemont's name hardly appears, because they cannot charge him."

"They do not want to charge him, because they refused his extradition for misuse of public funds. If he had fled, which he did not, if they did not know where he was, they could have said: 'Headed by President Puigdemont, who as he has fled cannot be...'. But he should obviously be in the narrative. And they would have continued: 'And we can only try him for misuse of public funds, since the German authorities have limited it.' It makes no sense."

"Javier Pérez Royo said that the fact that Puigdemont could not be tried made the trial unconstitutional. Could this be a reason to appeal to the TC? Can this be assessed?"

"On Saturday I had lunch with Pérez Royo in Valencia and we talked about this. I do not quite share his  thesis. He believes that this prevents charging. We all agree that, since there is no crime, the accusation could not be made. But he thinks that this would be when the charge is laid, and I think it should be at the time the sentence is issued. Nevertheless, I have transferred Pérez Royo's reflection, that I already knew, to the chat that all we lawyers have, and I suppose that some counsel will take it on board.

"Other incongruity is: how can it be justified that Mundó, Borràs and Vila are not charged with rebellion and the other Ministers are?"

"Curiously the three that left politics first. It makes no sense."

"Is it at all normal for the public prosecutor to charge Major Trapero and the leadersip of the Mossos* with rebellion, when the charges that Judge Lamela laid were sedition and did not include rebellion?"

"Not just that. Within the deeds, the legal classification of the deeds corresponds to the prosecutors. The prosecutions become attached to the deeds to be tried, not to the legal qualification. The surprising thing is that the prosecution's deeds explicitly said that there was no violence, thereby dismissing rebellion."

-"To what do you attribute this step?"

"They wanted to unify it. The charges were also surreal, because they prosecuted for two crimes of sedition and a criminal organization offence. Just as we said before, but here far worse. A criminal organization that would be headed by the Interior team and where there would be neither the Minister, nor the President, nor the Government. It's ludicrous from top to bottom."

"Now they say that the state's lawyer lowers rebellion, although it actually extends the charges it could make in the first instance, by adding sedition to misuse of public funds."

"Pie in the sky. To start with, when the State's lawyer became a party to the case on grounds of misuse of public funds, we opposed this right away, because it made the charges as a private prosecutor, that is, as a victim of the offence. If there were any victims of the crime, it would be the Generalitat, because the assets belong to the Generalitat, not to the State. But they said 'good, but as they used FLA* funds...'. But this is a loan, an advance. It can no longer be sustained that it can be a party. Secondly: when the State's lawyer is a party, for example, in cases where there are tax offences, it merely accuses them of whatever it is the victim. Therefore, it has gone further, instead of sticking to the misuse of public funds it has entered another field. To qualifying the facts as sedition, instead of rebellion, is pie in the sky, because in the end, the court has the full range in which to move: from the highest penalty, which is what the public prosecutor asks for, or what Vox asks, to acquittal. For the State's lawyer to call for smaller sentences is an absolutely useless gesture."

"This must be made clear, too. In the end, this is what the judge decides."

"Yes, it's certain that in the end Vox will call for thirty years for all of them. The court could opt for Vox requests, above the public prosecutor's request, but that would go down very badly, from a democratic point of view: for the Supreme court, in the sentence, to align with Vox and not with the public prosecutor. But it could do so, yes, just as it kept Joaquim Forn in prison when the prosecution did not request it, because Vox  requested it."

"It is also a precedent to keep in mind."

"Yes, but I guess it would be hard for them to issue a verdict, that will be read around the world, aligning itself with the thesis of an extreme rightwing party, far beyond what the public prosecution calls for. But while the public prosecutor's office stays above it, what the State's lawyers call for is totally irrelevant. No practical repercussions, zero."

"The question is to think about the trial but with one eye already set on Europe, right?

"We have been looking towards Strasbourg for a long time, obviously. From the legal point of view, Strasbourg, and from another, Europe, the institutions, because it has to be shown once again that the baseline norms of the rule of law are not being respected. In Europe they are beginning to see this, but it's hard for them to believe, because on paper Spain is a lawful State with separation of powers, etc. But this will steadily be seen more clearly."

"Are you ready for the possible activation of new Euroordres, once there are sentences?"

"Yes. It is very likely that once there are sentences, new EAWs* will be activated."

"Then they would base them on the fact that, given that there are already firm judgments..."

"They would accuse not with a letter of accusation, but with a sentence. But the sentence can not be more solid than the indictment, because it is based on utterly unrealistic premises."

* Mossos = The Catalan police force
* FLA = Financial loan scheme for regional authorities
* EAW = European Arrest Warrants


See also: Interview with defence lawyer Gonzalo Boye (2 Nov 2018)

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