The Catalan Referendum: the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office accepts the far-right party’s version of events
Unfortunately, one needn’t be a lawyer to realise that in the mass trial against the 1 October vote, the law and certain legal concepts have been twisted in order to connect —at any cost— events relating to the referendum to crimes which have been selected and decided beforehand. We saw it happen with the infamous crime of rebellion, which doesn’t have a leg to stand on, but which they are determined to make stick, as it forms the basis of the case brought by the now-deceased Public Prosecutor Maza, the investigating judge, Llarena, and Barcelona’s Court Number 13 (which Judge Ramirez Sunyer, also deceased, used to preside over, though not without first having been praised by the then President of the Supreme Court, Carlos Lesmes, for having “changed the course of history” and having saved Spain).
As bizarre and interminable as it seemed, the succession of police officers giving evidence in court as to their subjective perceptions (those which Justice Marchena dismisses out of hand when given by witnesses for the defence) regarding what took place on the day of the referendum had but one purpose: to paint a picture of a rebellious horde attacking the forces of law and order. Furthermore, they were not depicted as acting on their own initiative, but are seen to have been induced to take action by the defendants. If rebellion doesn’t stick, then perhaps incitement to rebellion will. And basically the same can be said of the charges of sedition. The main goal, in any case, is to add years to the sentences, when they are handed down.
Now it’s the turn of the Prosecutor’s Office, at Vox’s bidding, to call for charges of belonging to a criminal organization to be brought against twenty-eight Catalan government officials, including the general managers of public media organisations, TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio. It’s hard to imagine the directors of RAI, France Télévisions, the BBC or even RTVE being accused of an offence as serious as engaging in organized crime. The charges have nothing to do, for example, with having misappropriated funds destined for the public media, but with having broadcast ads for a referendum, even if it had been prohibited by the Constitutional Court. But this is precisely what is happening in this instance.
Nevertheless, it’s not so hard to believe if we consider what is also —or ought to be— unimaginable in any country governed by the rule of law: not only that a party on the far-right such as Vox can participate in such a key trial, one whose nature is clearly political, but that judges and prosecutors accept the demands of said party, and that its Secretary General, Ortega Smith, leads the private prosecution while simultaneously participating in the general election campaign (during which he says that women “can cut their nails”, but can’t choose to have an abortion). Quite simply, this puts justice in the hands of the far-right: a justice, to mention a case which isn’t connected to Catalonia, capable of handing down a sentence on mortgages only to overturn it the next day, this time in the banks’ favour. To celebrate, Ortega Smith attended Madrid’s Fiestas de San Isidro dressed in the region’s traditional costume and launched into a “chotis” [a local dance].