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15 de jul. 2019

The Trial: Reasonable Doubt

My personal thoughts about the coming verdict, having watched virtually all the Supreme Court trial and read all the international observers' remarks and reports. For Twitter, #ReasonableDoubt.
Click here if need be, for the whole post)
July 15 2019

Original: https://estudiscatalans.blogspot.com/2019/06/dubteraonable.html

For the Supreme court to decide the criminal responsibility of each of the twelve defendants, it will have to consider proved, beyond any reasonable doubt:

1. That the defendants decided to commit the following offence: to do what they were committed to do if their electoral coalition won the elections: to declare independence if a majority of voters so decided. The means chosen, given the silence and obscenely inept policy of the Spanish government, was a referendum. This, incidentally, has not been punishable since the reform of the Spanish Criminal Code in 2005.

2. That to do so they used and / or stirred up and / or justified violence, in an uprising that, since the 1995 reform authored by professor Diego Lopez Garrido [1], has to be violent to be a criminal offence. The court will have to decide if the legislators thought that if, after dozens of other people have done the same, two social leaders - with permission - got on a Spanish police vehicle (pretty run down, to be honest, with absolutely no one protecting them right in front of a spontaneous rally of thousands of people singing slogans and even hymns like "El Virolai", and handing out carnations), to ask people to go home, this amounted to a "rebellion". And if it would justify remanding them without bail for 600 days. Or preventing one of them, twice, and despite indications from the UN, from attending the investiture debate to become the President of Catalonia.

3. That in order to prepare a referendum - which, I repeat, since 2005 is not a criminal offence - the politicians on trial managed to repeatedly deceive the dreaded - I use the word on the basis of first-hand experience, on account of their meticulousness and rigorousness - government comptrollers, despite the strict, humiliating Spanish financial control imposed on its finance.

4. They have not a shadow of doubt that there was an act of sedition, even though carried out by elected civilians who have never hidden their commitment to respect the will of the majority of Catalonia's voters, with regard to the inalienable (and unilateral, by definition) right to self-determination of the Catalan people, the exercise of which Spain is duty-bound by its international treaties not only to respect but to encourage. In the 2017 legislation, and the various road maps, all published and widely disseminated, the secrecy that is a feature of an act of sedition will have to be to argued, beyond reasonable doubt.

5. They must argue beyond any reasonable doubt that the Constitutional Court did not overstretch its powers asnd was not manipulated by the executive (thanks largely to its new powers introduced by law by the People's Party and then cast in doubt by the Venice Commission)[2], to try to outrageously invade the deliberative sovereignty of a Parliament (that wanted to do something that is not a criminal offence), by blocking a number of initiatives culminating with the unheard-of blocking of the investiture of the Right Honourable and legitimate President of Catalonia, in January 2018, a blocking (the result moreover, of confessed last-minute pressure from the Spanish executive), that not even the usually docile Council of State endorsed.

6. It will have to consider beyond any reasonable doubt that there has not been any violation (it doesn't need to be that flagrant) of fundamental rights, such as freedom of association, assembly, demonstration and expression, and even more notoriously, the right to a fair trial, by the court that corresponds with right to adequately prepare the defence, entitlement to a court of appeal, and with the right to challenge what two millions of Catalans saw and see the October 1st and we have sense told with unacceptable lies.

7. Were it to dissent from the very well-known decisions of courts in Germany and Belgium that rejected European Arrest Warrants against exiled political leaders, it would have to argue firmly why it failed to raise - as defences have requested for months - a prejudicial question before the European court of Justice, which might have put an end to this farce long ago. 

This Supreme court is trapped by its own earlier decisions, especially in keeping the political and social leaders on remand, in spite of appeals by international organizations of human rights, with the weak excuse of the risk of their escaping, and the even more unsustainable argument of the risk of their repeating an unspecified crime. Organizing a referendum is not a criminal offence, and so there is still time for them to explain what crime specifically they are accused of, unless the represent organizations recognized for their pacificism and civic, or political parties pieces openly their electoral programs like everyone else.

It is also trapped by public opinion in the environment of the judges (and the prisoners). Spain wants blood, it has not wanted to understand the origin of the boom of the independence movement, while the devastating 2010 judgment against the Statute was being drafted, in response to the appeal presented by the true arsonists that have caused the conflict: the Popular Party. Their appeal was described in 2007 by prof. Perez Royo [3] as a coup d'état.

Madrid and Spain's public opinion has been fueled on the basis of a false narrative and is not ready to have the Supreme court of its country dismantling it.

Will the judges be brave enough? Will they risk their chances of promotion by denouncing the fact that Spanish politicians, incapable of sitting round a table with Catalans, dumped upon them this political conflict, which can only have a political solution? Having avoided the face-to-face sessions that Catalan society called for, will be enough brave to denounce those who have committed perjury? Can they ignore the fact that the same case is being tried in various courts? Can they ignore the unbrided violence of Spanish police, planned completely in disregard to the agreements with the Catalan police force - to prevent a referendum... the organizing of which, since 2005, is no longer an offence, criminal code in hand? Spain's unity should not have to be defended by brandishning batons, or by challenging international courts. Spain's top court has a great opportunity to say publicly and clearly: the unity of Spain is not won in the courts, but at the ballot box. Which is where it can be lost.

 "in dubio pro reo"

See also:
"Spain: human rights abuses and political prosecution"
Documents. Incl. WGAD.

P.S. October 14 2019. Reasonable doubt has been shown not to play the slightest role in the trial. Many think the prison sentence was decided before defining the actual offence before writing the sentence... before even hearing the trial. 

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