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Spain readies for landmark ruling on Catalan independence trial

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Spain readies for landmark ruling on Catalan independence trial

By Joan Faus

 

2019-10-13T221753Z_1_LYNXMPEF9C0PS_RTROPTP_4_SPAIN-POLITICS-CATALONIA-PROTEST.JPG

Supporters of Catalonia's independence hold an Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) as they gesture during a protest against upcoming ruling of the Spanish Supreme Court against the independence movement's leaders, in Barcelona, Spain, October 13, 2019. REUTERS/Albert Gea

 

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's Supreme Court is expected to announce on Monday its highly-anticipated verdict in the trial of 12 Catalan separatist leaders over their role in the region's 2017 banned referendum and short-lived independence declaration.

 

Much is at stake, both for Spain and for its wealthiest region in this trial over a failed independence bid that attracted worldwide attention, triggered Spain's biggest political crisis in decades and unnerved financial markets.

 

Secessionist groups have called for massive but peaceful civil disobedience if the 12 - nine of them have been in pre-trial detention for close to two years - are not acquitted.

 

It is still unclear how much support such protests may get and whether the promise of peaceful demonstrations holds.

 

The court plans to convict the most prominent leaders on charges of sedition and misuse of public funds but none would be found guilty of the more severe charge of rebellion, a judicial source told Reuters on Saturday.

 

A court spokesman did not comment on this and other media leaks on the verdict.

 

Sentences are expected to be announced at the same time.

 

The maximum prison term would be 15 years for one of the defendants, the source said. The prosecutor had sought a maximum sentence of 25 years.

The sentences would be lower for the other eight jailed leaders, the source said.

 

The remaining three who were tried - three politicians who are currently out of prison - would be found guilty of disobedience, which does not carry a prison sentence, the source said.

 

The source said that it could not entirely be excluded that the court would delay the publication of its ruling to Tuesday or Wednesday.

 

Separatist parties have said the only acceptable verdict for them would be the acquittal of all 12 politicians.

 

The region's separatist leader Quim Torra said on Wednesday that a guilty ruling would be a "torpedo" to Catalan society.

 

Catalan separatist protests have been largely peaceful but police sources have said authorities are prepared for potential violence.

 

The government has said it is ready to take direct control of Catalonia - as in 2017 - if secessionist leaders break the law.

 

The ruling is set to impact the run-up to Spain's fourth national election in four years, scheduled for Nov. 10, and will also determine the separatist movement's direction.

 

A poll in July showed 48.3% of Catalans against secession and 44% in favour.

 

(Reporting by Joan Faus; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Frances Kerry)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-10-14

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Meanwhile the cowardly leader, who fancied himself as El Presidente of a Catalan republic remains in exile in Belgium thanks to those nice EU folks who ignore Spain's quite legitimate requests for extradition.

 

Once again, politicians think that populism entitles them to break laws and that their desired end justifies any means.

 

 

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8 hours ago, webfact said:

Catalan separatist protests have been largely peaceful but police sources have said authorities are prepared for potential violence.

The violence meted out by the bussed-in Police thugs in 2017 was a disgusting spectacle that showed Spain to be a brutal, repressive country. The EU, in its unwillingness to condemn such disgusting behaviour, acted like a shameful coward.

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Spain jails Catalan separatist leaders over failed independence bid

By Isla Binnie, Ashifa Kassam

 

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Students sit at Plaza Universidad after a verdict in a trial over a banned independence referendum, in Barcelona, Spain October 14, 2019. REUTERS/Albert Gea

 

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine separatist leaders from Catalonia to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition over their role in a failed independence bid, triggering protests in Barcelona.

 

Three other defendants who were also on trial for their involvement in a referendum held in spite of a ban and a short-lived independence declaration, were found guilty only of disobedience and not sentenced to prison.

 

All defendants were acquitted of the gravest charge, rebellion, but leading separatists were quick to condemn the court’s decision and the jailed men sent out messages of defiance, urging people to take to the streets.

 

Former head of Catalonia’s regional government, Carles Puigdemont, said the prison sentences were an “atrocity”, and the head of the regional parliament Roger Torrent called them an “attack on democracy”.

 

In Barcelona, three main streets were blocked by protesters holding signs calling for “Freedom for political prisoners”. Outside the pro-independence Omnium Cultural headquarters in Barcelona, a crowd chanted “We’ll do it again” - a slogan used by separatist supporters who want to hold another referendum.

 

Demonstrators also gathered in other parts of Catalonia. Regional train tracks were blocked outside the town of Girona, a separatist stronghold, rail operator Rodalies said on Twitter.

 

Much is at stake in how the court’s decision will be received, both for Spain and for its wealthiest region. Catalonia’s independence drive attracted worldwide attention and triggered Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades and unnerved financial markets.

 

Separatist protests have been largely peaceful but police sources have said authorities are prepared for any violence. Spanish authorities are keen to avoid any condemnation from abroad of the sentence as too draconian, and the separatist movement will have to decide how to react to the ruling.

 

The jailed separatists said via social media that they would carry on their fight.

 

“Nine years in prison won’t end my optimism. Catalonia will be independent if we persist. Let us demonstrate without fear, let us move forward determinedly from non-violence to freedom,” said Jordi Sanchez, who was sentenced to nine years in jail. Sanchez was the leader of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) grassroots movement.

 

“UPRISING”

 

The longest prison term - 13 years - went to the former deputy leader of the Catalan regional government, Oriol Junqueras.

 

The court convicted Junqueras and eight other leaders on charges of sedition and four of them of misuse of public funds, the court ruling showed.

 

“What happened on October 1 was not just a demonstration or a massive act of citizen protest. If that had been the case, there would have been no criminal sentencing. It was a tumultuous uprising encouraged by the accused, among many others,” the Madrid court said in its ruling, delivered in writing rather than in an open session.

 

After the ruling was published, the CDR grassroots movement tweeted: “It’s time to rise up against the authoritarian fascism of the Spanish state and its accomplices. It is time for the #RevoltaPopular (popular revolt).”

 

The government has said it is ready to take direct control of Catalonia as it did in 2017 if secessionist leaders break the law.

 

“The sentence must be carried out and complied with,” acting public works minister Jose Luis Abalos told public broadcaster TVE. “In Catalonia, there is a need for clear and responsible leadership on behalf of separatists.”

 

The ruling is likely to color a national election on Nov. 10, Spain’s fourth in four years, and influence the direction taken by the separatist movement.

 

An opinion poll in July showed 48.3% of Catalans against secession and 44% in favor.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-10-14
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A democratically elected government handed down draconian sentences for following the mandated demands given to them by the electorate. What a sad, shameful day for Europe that this could be allowed to happen.

Sent from my SM-G975F using Thailand Forum - Thaivisa mobile app

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Spain has never been a modern democratic country. Authoritarism is still the way the country is being ruled.

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13 hours ago, RuamRudy said:

A democratically elected government handed down draconian sentences for following the mandated demands given to them by the electorate. What a sad, shameful day for Europe that this could be allowed to happen.

Sent from my SM-G975F using Thailand Forum - Thaivisa mobile app
 

A democratically elected regional government i.e. a regional assembly, council, state government or whatever term you prefer, tries to defy the laws of the nation, the courts of law, and impose a minority view on the majority. Not even close to democracy. A group of ambitious self interested greedy politicians looking to exploit a rise in popular nationalism for their own benefits. Their "brave leader" did a runner and hides behind Belgian skirts. leaving the others to take their punishment. 

 

Democracy can never be a small group declaring their own interest above the majority whilst defying laws they don't like.

 

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2 hours ago, Baerboxer said:

A democratically elected regional government i.e. a regional assembly, council, state government or whatever term you prefer, tries to defy the laws of the nation, the courts of law, and impose a minority view on the majority. Not even close to democracy. A group of ambitious self interested greedy politicians looking to exploit a rise in popular nationalism for their own benefits. Their "brave leader" did a runner and hides behind Belgian skirts. leaving the others to take their punishment. 

 

Democracy can never be a small group declaring their own interest above the majority whilst defying laws they don't like.

 

That it is a Spanish law in no way conveys moral right. Unjust laws have existed and continue to exist. 

 

It is a bit insulting, would you not agree, to suggest that the majority of Catalans are dupes who are being played by corrupt politicians. If they were truly satisfied being part of Spain, they would not have elected a majority independence-backing parliament. 

 

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Perhaps someone should know that Spain have a Constitution and nobody is over the law. Simple like that.

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4 minutes ago, Tarteso said:

Perhaps someone should know that Spain have a Constitution and nobody is over the law. Simple like that.

There is no argument from me regarding the existence of the law in question; my point is that something being proscribed does not automatically make it morally wrong. 

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I agree. I am Spanish and I was in jail for a while, for expressing my ideas, thanks to Dictator Franco. I am not a nationalist, nor a monarchist and I agree that Spain was a Federal State. This is a very complicated situation. I insist that there should first be a change in the Constitution. Unfortunately there is no communication between the two governments and the solution is not in violence but in Parliament. I insist again: Spain is a Parliamentary Monarchy.

 

Another CIVIL WAR? No Thanks

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31 minutes ago, RuamRudy said:

There is no argument from me regarding the existence of the law in question; my point is that something being proscribed does not automatically make it morally wrong. 

Ok. So... Do you see any solution?

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22 minutes ago, Tarteso said:

Ok. So... Do you see any solution?

I have this dream.....

 

The EU no longer being a federation of national states.

The EU becoming a federation of regions.

 

National states are obsolete in so many ways. They were invented in the course of history, with a lot of bloodshed - culminating in two mass genocides (WWI and WWII).

 

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