Falange leaders who justified use of violence against Catalan independence acquitted

Barcelona court concludes evidence which allowed case to be opened was "contaminated"

2 min
The leader of Falange, Manuel Andrino, in an archive image

BarcelonaA Barcelona judge has acquitted the leaders of neo-fascist parties Alianza Nacional and Falange, Pedro Pablo Peña and Manuel Andrino, for whom the prosecution was seeking prison sentences of up to three years for inciting hatred and violence in their speeches on October 12, 2013 at a far-right rally in Montjuïc for Columbus Day. In the rallies, which brought together about 150 people from far-right groups, among neo-Nazi symbols and chants like "Artur Mas, to the gas chamber", the defendants said they were willing to die and "kill" for the unity of Spain and that "there will be no secession of Catalonia if it is not based on a lot of blood". And these expressions, in fact, have been proven by the judge. Even so, the accused ended up being acquitted because the document that gave rise to the investigation - signed by two ultras groups that incited to commit violent acts on Columbus Day 2013 - was false. Thus, the criminal court number 8 of Barcelona concludes that the evidence that allowed the case to be opened was not lawful, making the whole case "contaminated".

The false document allowed the City Councils of Sabadell and Barcelona as well as a trade union to denounce the facts. The trial, however, carried out checks on its veracity, which the councils did not do before starting criminal proceedings - they obtained it on social networks. "The initial evidence, which is the document denounced to the Prosecutor's Office, is totally false, and consequently the theory of the fruits of the poisoned tree has to be applied", according to which an illicit proof annuls all those that are obtained as a result of it

They justify the violence against the independence of Catalonia

Despite the fact that in the trial the two ultras leaders refused to testify, in the instruction phase Peña ratified his statements and justified the Spanish people using violence against the independence of Catalonia if the state government does nothing to prevent it. The two defendants also have criminal records for expressing themselves in these terms: Peña was sentenced to three and a half years possession of explosives, while Andrino has several sentences for public disorder and ideological discrimination, among others for assaulting the Generalitat's Blanquerna Cultural Centre in Madrid during Catalonia day in 2013.

Andrino, in fact, ran in the Madrid elections om May 4 representing Falange despite being convicted -he has obtained 1,129 votes-. And he had the endorsement of the Central Electoral Board (JEC) to run. In a resolution, the electoral judge rejected a complaint of the association Drets sustaining that it is not accredited that Andrino "is serving a prison sentence after a final ruling or is deprived of the right of suffrage by final ruling", despite a final ruling of the Supreme Court which entails prison, one of the causes of ineligibility fixed in the article 6.2 of the Spanish electoral law and also collected by Madrid electoral law.

And he was not really in prison at that time. The week before the JEC's resolution, the Madrid High Court postponed ten of the fourteen neo-fascists' entering prison for the second time, arguing the appeal for protection they have presented before the Constitutional Court is yet to be resolved.