On Tuesday, the President of the Spanish Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), Carlos Lesmes, defended the actions of the judiciary against the Catalan pro-independence movement in the judicial forum of the Madrid Bar Association. He defined it as the “challenge of Catalan institutions that seek to promote the unilateral independence of this part of the national territory by violating the mandates of our constitution.”
According to Lesmes, the judiciary faced campaigns by the pro-independence movement intended to discredit it. “I want to remember campaigns of genuine defamation aimed very specifically at the judiciary, which was described as Franco’s or fascist justice that did not recognize or guarantee human rights,” he said.
Lesmes also defended the 2019 independence trial led by Judge Manuel Marchena, who considered it to be “full of guarantees.” He said “the process had met all the procedural guarantees,” despite the fact that a number of prestigious human right organizations contradicted him and called for the immediate release of the Catalan political prisoners.
He also criticized the fact that international observers wanted to attend the trial. “They wanted to put the suspicion that that Francoist court would make a trial without any guarantees,” he said and defended, as an example, the fact that the Supreme Court made a live online broadcast of the trial.
Official tweet from the Spanish Judiciary: “Regarding the independence challenge, the president of the #TS [Supreme Court] has highlighted the work of judges and magistrates in a situation of special significance for democracy in Spain. Justice responded with the necessary firmness.”
These statements by the highest authority of the Spanish judiciary aroused criticism and accusations from the pro-independence camp.
President Torra: “There is no ‘challenge,’ there are democrats; there is no ‘firmness,’ there is revenge.”
Jailed Catalan leader Jordi Turull: “We guarantee you a just trial and then we will shoot you. Preparing the atmosphere again for the judicial decisions that must come towards independentists, which are not few.”
Jailed Catalan leader Jordi Cuixart: “They do not hide: it was a Trial at Democracy, a State Trial against the independentists at the cost of condemning fundamental rights. See you at the ECHR [European Court of Human Rights] in Strasbourg!”