Four of the Catalan leaders facing trial over last year’s failed push for regional independence went on a hunger strike in the beginning of december, claiming they are being treated unfairly by the Spanish justice system. They criticise the Constitutional Court’s attitude of preventing their access to European justice.
The attorney general of Spain’s supreme court demands a 25-year sentence for the former vice-president of Catalonia, Oriol Junqueras, and up to 17 years for the others.
Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, said that while the hunger strike “was obviously not good news”, the imprisoned leaders were being treated in accordance with the law. “I think it is important to stress that they will have a fair trial because we live in a society based on the rule of law and the judiciary is independent,” he added.
Two imprisoned Catalan politicians gave a radio interview
By the way, the German Uwe P. Tesch supported the protest action of the prisoners. He also went on hunger strike and posted every day an update of his state on Twitter.
Two of the imprisoned Catalan leaders, the former infrastructure minister Josep Rull and the former Counselor and Spokesperson of the Presidency, Jordi Turull, were interviewed by Catalunya Radio. Here is an excerpt of it:
What message do you want to convey?
We want to denounce the conscious and premeditated attitude of the Constitutional Court to prevent our access to European justice. Our protection requests are accepted for processing and then frozen. It is a true scandal of seriousness without nuance in a state of law pretending to be solvent. The body that has to guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms is the first to violate them. Spain’s unity at any price.
The Constitutional Court argues the delay in resolving the resources presented by the great complexity they have.
It’s unheard-of. The Constitutional Court has many more means and less workload than, for example, what the Supreme manages. The data is resoundingly forceful. On average, the Constitutional Court, only accepts between 1 and 1.5% of the protection resources that are presented. They have accepted 100% of ours for processing, only to be frozen. The oldest protection request that we introduced was done now more than one year ago. Remember that matters linked to preventive prison, in ordinary justice and in accordance with the Court’s own doctrine, must be resolved within a maximum period of 30 days. It’s a disgrace. One year without freedom and the Court, allegedly overwhelmed.
The Attorney General says that the hunger strike will not change anything.
Theoretically, the Office of the Prosecutor should defend the general interest. But in Spain the Attorney General, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court protect each other when it comes to violating fundamental rights when there is a “greater” good to protect: the unity of Spain. It isn’t only a problem for us who want independence for Catalonia, it is a problem, above all, for Spanish democracy.
“The data is resoundingly forceful. The Constitutional Court, on average, only accepts between 1 and 1.5% of the protection resources that are presented. They have accepted 100% of ours for processing, only to be frozen” – Joseph Rull
Do you expect to be released on probation before the trial in order to prepare the defense?
Our preventive prison clearly has a vindictive character – an “advance payment” before the conviction. In a solvent and accredited state of law we should be free. Moreover, facing a trial that can last between three and five months from jail with strenuous transfers, holding cells, handcuffs and limited access to lawyers every day is the most obvious expression that we will not have a fair trial.
What do you think you should do if, as expected, there is a condemnatory sentence in the case?
There is an obsession for anticipating scenarios or focusing in just this one. It depends on a lot of things and a lot can happen between now and the trial. It is a disservice to jump over everything between now and the trial, to merely be awaiting the sentence. There is much to be done outside the trial and before the sentence.
This is a key moment. How should citizens be mobilized? And how should political parties and entities be mobilized?
We do not anticipate scenarios. But what is certain is that any citizen mobilization will always have to be peaceful, and especially without escalation, isolating any provocateur, infiltrator and violent actor, three elements which often go in the same profile.
“Facing a trial that can last between three and five months from jail with strenuous transfers, holding cells, handcuffs and limited access to lawyers every day is the most obvious expression that we will not have a fair trial” – Jordi Turull
Civil society is pressuring and demanding unity. Do you think it’s taking too long?
If it’s toward a good end, no. The moment is not simple and, instead of recreating problems, we need to concentrate on the solutions, despite the pressure coming by land, sea and air, politics, justice and the media.
How did you experience the Andalusian elections, given that Catalonia has been the focus of the campaign?
With much grief for the Andalusians. It must be very painful not to listen about your own dreams, concerns, ambitions, challenges, etc. And we believe that the elections were the ultimate expression of what we already knew: attacking Catalonia generates votes.
What do you think about the rise of the political party Vox?
The King’s speech on October 3, blessing and stirring up the “Go Get ‘Em” attack and the contest between PP and Cs to see who can say the worst thing about Catalonia are o blame. In this context, people voted for the instigator.