Spain’s Attorney General Dolores Delgado (PSOE) Says the Supreme Kangaroo Court Trial against the Catalan Pro-Independence Leaders Over the Referendum Was an Example of “Legality”

The former Minister of Justice of PSOE in the last legislature and new Spain’s Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, affirmed on Monday during the opening ceremony of the judicial year, presided over by King Felipe VI, that the trial of the pro-independence leaders was “a criminal trial of special significance at all levels” where the various legal operators involved “have set an example of institutional normalcy and commitment to duty and legality.”

According to Delgado, the Public Prosecutor’s Office is an institution “close” to the citizens and “a decisive pillar in the defense of legality and democracy and the rule of law. The vocation for public service has been what encouraged the work of prosecutors during 2019,” she said (despite being a politicized institution that has proven to be one of the arms of the repression against the Catalans).

Delgado said that the trial of the pro-independence leaders was held with the additional “guarantee” of “enhanced advertising” because it was broadcast “streaming” through television and radio.

She recalled that the sentence stated that “the facts of the case constituted a crime of sedition and an aggravated crime of embezzlement of public money” and concluded that they had been undertaken “in medial competition” so that the embezzlement could be considered the means “to commit sedition.”

“This culminated a criminal process of special importance at all levels, where the various legal operators involved have set an example of institutional normalcy and commitment to duty and legality,” she concluded.

No reference was made to the flight of King Emeritus Juan Carlos to a country without an extradition treaty with Switzerland or to investigations into his alleged irregular businesses.

Judge Keeps Suspension of Open Prison Regime for Jailed Catalan Leaders Junqueras, Rull, Turull, Romeva and Sànchez

The judge of the 5th Court of Prisons has decided to maintain once again the suspension of the open prison regime for Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva and Josep Rull until the Supreme Court resolves the appeals filed by the prosecution against the classification of the political prisoners. The judge has again rejected the appeals filed by the defense.

In a statement, the judge said that the arguments of the defense are the same as those already used in the appeal filed against the first ruling on July 28, in which he suspended the execution of the open regime. That appeal was answered in the ruling of August 11. On August 19, the same court upheld the open prison regime but insisted that the suspension should be maintained pending the Supreme Court ruling.

This decision comes after Spanish prosecutors requested the suspension of the lowest security prison regime for seven of the 9 political prisoners: Oriol Junqueras, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sànchez, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, and Jordi Turull.

Another judge decided to maintain the open prison regime for jailed Catalan leaders Carme Forcadell and Dolors Bassa until the Supreme Court makes a final decision on the prosecutor’s requests.

A final decision on the Catalan political prisoners’ jail regime will still have to be made by the Supreme Court for the nine political prisoners in the next few months.

The Spanish Government Still Provides Protection For Former King Juan Carlos I

On Monday, Spain’s interior minister, Marlaska, confirmed that the Spanish government was still providing protection for former King Juan Carlos I, who fled the country last week over allegations of corruption and money laundering. He is believed to have settled in a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi. The cost per night is over €10,000.

Marlaska: “It is reasonable and timely that the Minister of the Interior does not give any information about it [where the King is], but what no one can forget is that we are talking about the person who was the head of State in Spain. His security obviously concerns the Spanish state.”

PM Pedro Sánchez affirmed that he didn’t know the whereabouts of the monarch, but the minister of the interior’s statements suggests his administration is closely monitoring the former king’s steps.

Last week, the state-owned public broadcaster RTVE revealed that the government had been negotiating the self-imposed exile of the monarch with the Royal House over a period of weeks, meaning it had helped the monarch to flee the country.

Investigations

Juan Carlos is under investigation in Spain for his role in a deal in which a Spanish consortium landed a €6.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail line between the Saudi cities of Medina and Mecca.

Swiss prosecutors are also investigating a $100 million bank account held by the monarch in the country. According to the investigations, Juan Carlos allegedly received a “donation” of $100 million from the king of Saudi Arabia that he put in an offshore account in 2008. A few years later, he allegedly “gifted” 65 of those millions from that account to his ex-lover Corinna Larsen.

It is still too early to know whether Swiss and Spanish justice will convict the former king, Juan Carlos I, of corruption and money laundering. However, this case has already shown that the Spanish government has helped someone under investigation over corruption and money laundering to flee the country and is still providing him protection. There is, then, little doubt the Spanish administration is trying to shore up the 78 regime.

The Self-Proclaimed “Most Progressive Government in History” Helps Former King, Juan Carlos I, Flee Spain Over Corruption and Money Laundering Allegations

On Monday, the Spanish Royal House confirmed what many already knew: former King Juan Carlos I had fled Spain following allegations of crimes of corruption and money laundering that have harmed the reputation of the monarchy including his son, King Felipe VI. According to the Spanish media, Juan Carlos is currently staying in a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

He is currently under investigation by the Spanish Supreme Court for his role in a deal in which a Spanish consortium landed a €6.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail line between the Saudi cities of Medina and Mecca.

Swiss prosecutors are also investigating a $100 million bank account held by the monarch in the country. According to the investigations, Juan Carlos allegedly received a “donation” of $100 million from the king of Saudi Arabia that he put in an offshore account in 2008. A few years later, he allegedly “gifted” 65 of those millions from that account to his ex-lover Corinna Larsen.

The former king lost his immunity in June 2014 following his abdication, meaning he can be tried in Spain, though there are suspicions the Spanish Supreme Court, a body never reformed during the so-called “transition,” could favor him.

The self-proclaimed “most progressive government in history” officially said it “respected” the decision of the King Emeritus to leave Spain. The state-owned public broadcaster RTVE revealed that the government had been negotiating the self-imposed exile of the monarch with the Royal House over a period of weeks.

Podemos party said that they did not know anything about the negotiations, even though they are a part of the government. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, Podemos should have quit the coalition immediately. Instead, its leader, Pablo Iglesias, called for people to understand that PSOE and Podemos have different views of the monarchy and ruled out any risk of rupture of the coalition government.

What Podemos seems to forget is that they are co-responsible for any action taken by the government — they form part of it. The reality is that their government allegedly helped Juan Carlos flee the country in the midst of serious investigations for alleged corruption and money laundering — this is unacceptable.

Sooner or later, an international independent investigation should take place into how Juan Carlos fled the country. Many clarifications are still needed:

– Did he flee the country with an official plane?

– Does he still have an official escort?

– Has the government provided him any financial assistance?

– What government/s are giving him sanctuary?

– Who allowed him to go?

– What are the legal aspects of this?

– Did the government do anything illegal in negotiating his exit while he is being investigated?

– etc.

Whether this investigation will take place in the future is still unknown, but this case has already shown that the so-called “most progressive government in history,” is not so very progressive and is actually contributing to the shoring up of the 78 regime.

The Spanish Government and the Prosecutor’s Office Break Dialogue by Suspending the Open Prison Regime for Seven Catalan Political Prisoners

Between Tuesday and Thursday, two courts suspended the open prison regime for the Catalan political prisoners Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Jordi Sànchez, Quim Forn, Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull. They were all forced to re-enter prison.

This decision came after the public prosecutor’s office, under the Spanish government’s control, appealed against allowing them to benefit from the open prison regime because according to the prosecutor, giving them this category creates “a sense of impunity.”

The judges’ sudden decision confirmed the impossibility of dialogue with the state. From now on, they will not be able to have either the open prison regime or the 100.2 regime, so they will not be able to go out to work either.

During the election campaign Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez affirmed he was controlling the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Due to lack of interest or fear of a crisis among prosecutors, there has not been any change in trend in relation to the pro-independence leaders in comparison with the previous administration.

Reactions in the pro-independence camp

Catalan president Quim Torra said that it was an act of “vengeance” and warned the Spanish government that it must “demonstrate a desire to end hostilities against the independence movement” for dialogue to be able to take place.

Catalan Vice-President, Pere Aragonès, accused the Spanish government of “rupturing” talks and warned that negotiations were not possible without amnesty.

Jailed Catalan leader Jordi Sànchez: “It’s time to stop giving them votes,” he said, referring to ERC’s support of the Spanish government.

Jailed Catalan leader Jordi Cuixart: “We do not want an individual solution for each of us. We want an end to repression, amnesty and a political solution to the political conflict. You have no obligation to obey unjust laws. You must disobey as many unjust laws as necessary.”

Jailed Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras: “They are afraid of us because they know that they will not beat us at the polls. That is why they want to exercise influence through imprisonment and repression and forced exile, because they cannot exert influence through social and parliamentary channels,” he said.

Jailed Catalan leader Quim Forn said that every act of repression makes them, the political prisoners, stronger.

Jailed Catalan leader Josep Rull warned that the Supreme Court has had to “scrap its own rule of law” and reinterpret prison law to jail them again.

Jailed Catalan leader Jordi Turull called for unity between pro-independence forces.

The Spanish Supreme Court ruling on the Catalan political prisoners last October does not establish any clause that inmates must serve a given percentage of the sentence before accessing leave permits. However, the high court has suddenly declared itself competent to decide on this matter meaning the repression against the Catalan political prisoners and the pro-independence movement is not going to lessen in the foreseeable future.

What Neutral Judiciaries Never Do in Democracies: The President of the General Council of the Spanish Judiciary (CGPJ) Publicly Speaks Against the Catalan Pro-Independence Movement and International Observers

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!”

Catalan Political Prisoners Granted 3rd Degree Category Status, Lowest Prison Category

On Tuesday, the Generalitat (Catalan government) ratified the 3rd degree category status for all the Catalan political prisoners. The “semi-liberty” regime means they can leave prison on weekends, but continue to spend weeknights behind bars.

They were locked behind bars during a 2 year long pre-trial detention before being sentenced last October to serve prison terms of 9 to 13 years by Spain’s Supreme Court, an unfair decision that caused social unrest across the country.

On July 2, the prison boards proposed the 3rd degree status for the nine jailed Catalan leaders: Carme Forcadell, Dolors Bassa, Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez. This was ratified by the Catalan justice department on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, the final decision rests with the Spanish Supreme Court. The Prosecutor’s Office has already announced that it will appeal. Awaiting the court’s final decision, the jailed Catalan leaders will continue enjoying the third degree status.

Minister of the Presidency, Meritxell Budó, said on this matter: “I could tell them that it is good news that they have given the third degree to the prisoners, but they should be released.”

Jailed Catalan leader Raül Romeva: “Third degree is just another way to continue to pay a 12-year prison sentence and disqualification.”

Romeva: “Tonight I will spend my 875th night in prison. Tomorrow, the 876th. And so on, because the third degree status is just another way to continue serving a sentence of 12 years in prison and disqualification. Freedom is not the third degree, but it is amnesty. “

It’s worth mention that the third degree (“semi-liberty”) regime is not freedom. The jailed Catalan leaders are political prisoners who should not have been sent to prison in the first place, as several international human rights organizations have repeatedly said.

Racist Police Assault on a Young Man in Catalonia

On Monday, the anti-racist organization, SOS Racisme, revealed that a young man had suffered a racist assault at the hands of Catalan police officers (Mossos) on January 10th, 2019, in San Felíu Saserra, Catalonia.

The events took place on the afternoon of January 10, 2019, when the victim, Wubi, was leaving his apartment located in the same building in which a police supervised eviction taking place in the same building was underway. SOS Racisme explained how in the parking lot, a group of police officers entered and asked for his identification. As they checked his ID, one of the officers asked him if he was the building’s “gardener,” then “they started throwing garbage bags at him, pushing him, spitting on him and hitting him on the head while making racist insults.”

When Wubi tried to escape from the attack, one of the officers fired a gun at him. Fortunately, the officer missed and the bullet didn’t hit him, according to SOS Racisme. The young man then called his neighbors to warn them, but one of the officers got on the phone and threatened to issue a “search and arrest warrant” for him if he did not return. Faced with this, the young man decided to return while beginning to record the encounter on his cell phone. Once he returned, one of the officers threw him to the ground again, kicked him in the ribs, spat on him and humiliated him with racist insults. “They made me feel worse than shit” the young man said in a statement published by SOS Racisme.

In the audio recorded by the victim and published by the newspaper La Directa, the police officers physically attack the young man while he begs them to stop. “I am a human being just like you,” he said. The officers make racist remarks, such as “you are a monkey, you son of a bitch.” They also told him that the next time he sees the police he will run to Africa. “I’m racist a lot,” said one of the officers.

According to judicial sources, the case about the racist attack was opened in February of 2019 and the officers were charged with a crime of personal injury and a crime against moral integrity. The case is being investigated by the courtroom number 5 of Manresa, the same one that filed the complaint by the police against the victim. The same sources clarify that the six officers investigated were summoned to court last October and exercised their right to not testify. The court case is still open pending further proceedings.

The officers involved in the racist attack have been transferred to different locations and departments during the investigative process, but have not been suspended, granting them impunity.

For SOS Racisme, this case “is not only a consequence of the racist ideology of a group of Mossos officers,” but “is a testament to lack of control mechanisms, impunity, racism and police corporatism.”


Civil Guard Colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos’ Dismissal Uncovers Anti-Government Deep State War

Colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos’ dismissal has aggravated tensions between the deep state and the Spanish Government.

Colonel De los Cobos was head of the Civil Guard Command in Madrid. He was the coordinator of the police repression against the 2017 independence referendum in Catalonia. And he also testified against (the) Catalan political prisoners during the independence trial in the Spanish Supreme Court, resulting in unjust prison sentences for the Catalan leaders. Amnesty International and several international human rights organizations have repeatedly called for their immediate release.

According to official sources, De los Cobos was dismissed for failing to inform his superiors of a report delivered to the judge about the alleged criminal responsibility of the Spanish government in authorizing a feminist protest on March 8. The official version, however, says that he was dismissed because the ministry had “lost confidence” in him.

The report, full of errors and inconsistencies, points out that the Spanish administration did nothing to prevent the feminist rally on March 8 or other events when there was risk of Covid-19 outbreak. It targets Fernando Simón, director of the Health Emergencies Center, for not highlighting the risks of holding demonstrations, as well as the Spanish government’s delegate in Madrid, José Manuel Franco, for authorizing the protest.

The conservative Judge Carmen Rodríguez-Medel responded to the dismissal of Colonel De los Cobos by citing the Spanish government’s delegate in Madrid, José Manuel Franco, who is accused of prevarication. She also threatened to investigate the Spanish Ministry of Interior if she found out that De los Cobos had been dismissed because of her orders. .

Judge Rodríguez-Medel’s father and brother are also Civil Guards; her brother is the head of the Malaga Command.

In the last few days and following De los Cobos’ dismissal, second-in-command of the Civil Guard, Ceña, resigned and third-in-command, Fernando Santafé, was dismissed, though police sources state that he resigned. This has aggravated the situation and brings to light an existing war between the Spanish government and the deep state.

It is too early to know who will be victorious in this war, but the Spanish far-right movement led by the Vox party, with the collaboration of the right-wing Partido Popular (PP, Popular Party), has launched a virulent campaign against the government, aimed at gaining power by any means.

In the next few months, one of two possible scenarios is likely to play out. The so-called deep state, in collaboration with the far-right, may try to force the Partido “Socialista” Obrero Español (PSOE, Spanish “Socialist” Workers’ Party) to break up the coalition government with Podemos. The other possibility is that the deep state may force a new round of elections, expecting the right-wing party PP and the far-right party Vox to gain enough seats to form a new government with the far-right party Cs’ external support. Such an outcome would likely lead to the implementation of an authoritarian Hungary-style regime.

Amnesty International Calls for the Immediate Release of Jailed Catalan Leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez

On Wednesday, Amnesty International (AI) demanded the immediate release of jailed Catalan leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez. Both have been imprisoned since October 16, 2017, for participating in a peaceful demonstration on September 20, 2017.

AI made public that it sent a technical report to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Spanish State Attorney’s Office, the defense (lawyers) and the private prosecutors (Vox), which highlights the vagueness of the crime of sedition the Catalan leaders are accused of and insists that the sentence against them violates their freedom of expression and assembly. “They must be released immediately,” the organization said in a statement.

The document was provided just at the time the Constitutional Court accepted the appeal of the Catalan leaders to declare the sentence null.

AI considers the sentence a disproportionate restriction of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. It does not meet the requirements of international human rights instruments, such as art. 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and art. 11.2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, established to be able to impose restrictions on judgments of this type.

“The definition of the criminal act of sedition must be substantially revised to ensure that it does not unduly criminalize the exercise of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, nor does it impose disproportionate penalties on acts of peaceful civil disobedience,” said Esteban Beltrán, director of the NGO in Spain.