Repression of independence

Catalan Government now admits it will not withdraw en bloc from all cases against protesters

At the moment it has dropped or diluted accusations in a dozen cases

2 min
On January 30, 2018 dozens of protesters attempted to gain access in the Parliament all and opposition from the Mossos.

BarcelonaIf the role of the Council for the Republic was the focus of tension between Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (JxCat) before Pere Aragonès was invested president, the judicial processes against pro-independence demonstrators were part of the discussion with Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP). The Government pledged to withdraw en bloc from all cases against demonstrators in which there were no proven injuries to Catalan police officers or there were insufficient guarantees to identify alleged aggressors. A commitment, however, the executive now admits it will not be able to fulfil, sources in the Presidency department have explained to ARA.

It has been more than a year since the investiture. Since then, police lawyers have become dependent on the central legal office. This means they follow orders from the Presidency, not Home Affairs. Since then, lawyers have analysed every case and, despite the promises to withdraw from all cases, the government has concluded it must continue as before. "There was a political will, but procedurally it is not possible", sources from the legal office explain, who recalled the goal is to protect civil servants.

Tensions with the Catalan police over what they considered concessions to the CUP are not new and the Catalan government has preferred not to press the accelerator, despite the fact this could lead to new problems with the anticapitalists. The CUP, in fact, continues to denounce in its list of grievances against the Catalan government that the Generalitat continues to be represented as private accusation against activists in breach, in their opinion, of their commitment in the investiture deal. "To withdraw private accusations against participants in social and political mobilisations, except those in which there were injuries to officers proven with a medical certificate", said the document ERC and the CUP signed in March last year.

Sources from the executive emphasise, however, that they maintain "a fluid contact" with representatives of the CUP "to analyse case by case" the accusations against pro-independence demonstrators. The first big announcement was the withdrawal of the procedure against seven protesters who participated in the mobilisation at the gates of Parliament on January 30, 2018, when Carles Puigdemont was to be invested. Even so, the Generalitat's lawyers offered to continue representing the police offices who were suing; the officers declined and hired their own lawyers. Government sources explain that in recent months they have either withdrawn or watered down accusations in a dozen cases.

Unfinished business

One of these cases is Marcel Vivet's, who was initially sentenced to five years in prison, with the Generalitat refusing to lower its accusation. Finally, the Generalitat itself appealed the against the sentence, considering it "disproportionate" and Catalonia's High Court of Justice cut the sentence to a year and a half in prison. At the moment, the Presidency does not detail which are the other cases.

There are also examples in which the government did not appear, such as Oriol Calvo's, the young man recently sentenced to four years in prison for public disorder and assaulting a police officer during the protests following the Supreme Court's sentencing of the independence bid leaders.

There are still at least thirty cases in which the Generalitat is involved –in two of which the Catalan police are the accused–. And if there is no new change of criteria, the legal office will evaluate each case individually to decide how to act.