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12 de març 2019

"Open letter to Manuel Marchena", by Pere Plans (8 March 2019)

This is an English translation (by MS) of "Open letter to Manuel Marchena" by Pere Plans (8 March 2019). I hope the author and newspaper don't mind.

Click here if need be to access the whole text


I am poor in material resources, but I try to enrich myself a little more every day in things I can't quantify. Sometimes your house is full of things you don't want, such as pain. And I am fed to the teeth of this undesirable product, and this is because of  some people I don't know, but I do know that they love their country and strive for its freedom and for the welfare of its citizens. You are keeping these people in prison and they are being tried at this time. I do not ask for mercy, I ask for justice.

For over three weeks I have been following closely and with great concern this trial that you chair. Allow me to ask a set of questions and arguments that I hope will lead to a reflection.

Why have all witnesses been asked if they had ever been tried, except Sr. Pérez de los Cobos?

Is it not because Sr. de los Cobos though he was pardoned, went on trial for torture?

Prosecutors have asked defendants and witnesses if they were members of Omnium or ANC and you have not objected. But when they asked Sra. Del Toro if she belonged to a particular association, you stopped her from answering.

Could it not be that Señora del Toro is known as a far-right activist, a follower of the UNE (Spanish National Unity), which on social networks seriously insulted the ERC and hates all things Catalan? If her testimony currently raises all sorts of doubts as to its veracity, imagine that knowing that she's an anti-Catalan activist.

Why did you not interrupt the prosecutor once, in his interrogation of Mr. Pérez de los Cobos and, in contrast, you did not stop interrupting the arguments of the defence lawyers at all times?

Could it be that you lent Colonel de los Cobos a hand when he was cornered, or when he stumbled into contradictions?

How is it possible that you let Sr. Nieto, number 2 in the Ministry of the Interior, and Sr. López de los Cobos, who are perfectly guilty of the shame that Spain went through before the whole world because of what happened on 1-Oct, instead of defending their actions, pour all the blame for their fiasco and - excuse me - all the shit produced by them on top of the person of Sr. Trapero?

How could you let a person who could not defend himself, who was accused without a shred of evidence, be accused in such an ignominious way?

Sr. Marchena, do you know what the weather as in Catalonia in the early hours of the morning of October 1? It drizzled, you know? I say this because of the tendentious accusatory texts that speak of hooded people. Not a single one with their faces covered. It is sad to see that the mission of the Civil Guard is to write tendentious and false reports.

The witness, Señora del Toro, is the person who gave rise to the whole drama on September 20. It was she who, a few days later, filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office, who, in their incriminating zeal, ordered the Civil Guard to write a report. That is, the Civil Guard did not see anything punishable on the 20th and made no statement, but when asked by the Prosecutor, they present us with a wheelbarrow full of falsehoods and incongruities, for the prosecutor to be able to start the rebellion proceedings and put two innocent men like Sr. Cuixart and Sr. Sánchez in jail. This whole subject is of considerable legal irregularity and of course hardly edifying.

As we saw, Sra. del Toro has become the most important prosecution witness, in her eagerness to prove the rebellion, but of course if something does not exist it is hard to prove it and the testimony of Sra. del Toro was a veritable evidentiary fiasco; the most important thing that she wanted to convey to us is that on September 20, she panicked.

Your Honour, fear is free and the lady has every right to feel it, but her panic is suspicious to say the least:

1.- How is it possible that she panicked if there were dozens of people in the Ministry gloing about their daily work quite normally and at no time in the work zones did any anomalous situation arise, except those related to the search itself? Was hearing the chants of the thousands of demonstrators in the street a cause for panic, as she stated? I do not doubt that she did panic, what I doubt is that her subjective state could give rise to a formal complaint.

2.- The court team that turned up at the Ministry under the command of Sra. del Toro did its work, it finished and the proceedings were signed. If she had panicked or anything unusual had happened in the building she would not have been able to carry out her work and as can be seen, this was done.

3.- Once she had finished her task, Sra. del Toro refused to leave the Ministry, now she is frightened. Your Honour, she was not known by anyone, if she wanted to go out she could do it quite calmly and without any problem, she could go along the security cord along which dozens of people constantly passed, noone would have doubted she was an employee, she could have been escorted. Ministry employees and other authorized persons went in and out throughout the day, all the staff went out to eat and at the end of their working day they all returned quietly home, no I'm wrong: everyone except Sra. del Toro who was so afraid she even asked for a helicopter. Incomprehensible.

4 .- Finally, the Catalan police, full of patience, found a solution, and she agreed to leave through a courtyard, she did so without any difficulty, it is located on the second floor; she easily crossed over a 1 metre-high wall, she is a young person without physical impediments and she was helped by Catalan policemen. Sra. del Toro left without the slightest problem.

That Sra. del Toro's only explanations are that she panicked and then got frightened without giving a convincing reason for being in this situation is at the very least curious, don't you think, your Honour?. And we return to another scandalous Civil Guard report, which without physically knowing the patio, presents us with a "she had to cross the roofs ...". That makes two: the hooded people and now crossing roofs.

5 .- When as from 8:30 a.m. people started to gather, the Civil Guards were asked to park their cars in the building car park. They turrned this down. It was their decision and it is they and only they who are responsible for the vehicles, and if they did not want to park them inside, at least they had to guard them and prevent journalists from climbing onto them. Their neglect went so far as to leave weapons inside the cars. Don't dump the blame for your incompetence on Sr. Cuixart and Sr. Sánchez.

6.- The Civil Guard vehicles were the perfect platform for dozens of photographers who throughout the day easily and freely got an ideal place to get great shots.

7.- Throughout the day civil guards and Catalan policemen were at the door, none in anti-riot gear, they were wearing the summer kit and it is a lie that they had to take refuge inside the Ministry, whenever they wanted they opened the door and left. At no time were the forces of order needed: there were 50,000 demonstrators and only a couple Civil Guards and a few Catalan policemen. Where was the rebellion? And the tumults? You can see for yourself how some people are liars.

8.- At 12 midnight the street was empty, just a few protesters were left, I went past later, I saw the craning removing the vehicles, I can guarantee that there was absolute tranquility, I did not see any damage at all to urban furniture, to the parterres, or to the fountains.

9.- It was a spontaneous demonstration, a WhatsApp one: neither Omnium nor ANC have the capacity to mobilize tens of thousands of people with the speed with which it happened. In Catalonia there is a very rich social fabric and we communicate instantly and we mobilize, on the 20th we citizens consider that it was an act of provocation by the late Judge Ramírez. Was it necessary to make 43 searches on the very same day? Was it necessary to stop Mr. Jové on the ring road, machine-gun in hand, with his kids? He as going to work, they could have waited quietly in his office, the citizens of Catalonia dislike such unnecessary shows of colonialism and force, they ought to know.

10.- It was a civic protest in the face of a disproportionate action, I'm not saying it didn't have to be done,  I'm saying that it should have been done correctly. Court No. 13 and the Civil Guard are the ones who ought to give explanations, not Sr. Cuixart and Sr. Sánchez who did a job that was not theirs, but in an immediate situation like the one that occurred, and thanks to them there was not the slightest problem. Tens of thousands of people, without a single traffic incident, fight, avalanche, it was all chants, and musical performances. I honestly believe that Sr. Cuixart and Sr. Sánchez should have been congratulated for their intense and successful work for almost 20 hours.

11.-The only people who did not do their job correctly were the Civil Guard, who were incapable of preventing the photographers from getting on the cars and the cars getting damaged. Don't blame the protesters for something we did not do. What if it was the civil guards themselves who did the damage? It would not be the first time the most exalted and provocative people in a demonstration get arrested... and wow, it turns out that they were policemen who wanted to break the orderliness. What do they seek?

12.- I tell you with all my grief, it is shameful that Sr. Cuixart and Sr. Sánchez are in jail, it says very little for the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, they do not have the slightest reason to be in jail, I have the feeling that at the top levels of the Spanish judiciary, there are great democratic deficiencies. Don't be surprised, then, that we Catalans do not like the ID-card we have to use, it belongs to a country with Fascist tics.

Sr. Marchena, it is a lack of respect and an attack on the dignity of the people of Catalonia that a demonstration of protest - yes, but joyful and peaceful - is considered by the judiciary as a rebellion. This is intolerable and you know it. That is why in Catalonia we consider that we are all being tried, the desire for freedom of a people that is peaceful is on trial. What we see in the Supreme Court and excuse me saying so, is a bunch of liars. The thing is, Your Honour, we were there both on September 20 and October 1, we saw everything with our own eyes and for hours, we know that they are lying through their teeth, we know that there are innocent people in jail. This is unbearable.

You are a well-mannered person, but your silk glove hides a steel hand. I ask you to straighten your path, to stand beside the truth and abandon the liars, truth is never in a hurry, it always reflects, it does not make hasty decisions, the truth expels lies and liars, and is always at the side of good people, the truth questions laws, but loves justice.

I ask you to look into the eyes of the men and women who are sitting on the bench, in front of you, you will recognize the luminosity of truth, and their sacrifice in favour of some ideals.

Unfortunately, this should not be the case, we are on different sides, you defend the rights of the State, we the freedom of peoples, you search for ballot boxes, we defend them, you pursue ideas, we defend ideals, you defend unjust laws, we defend the justice of peoples and the rights of all.

Unfortunately, as the trial goes on, the sentence is perceived as having been decided. But the human being always has a moment of greatness, it is those in which we get truth and justice to be the patrimony of the weakest and the defenceless. Do not forget this.


Pere Plans

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