Marcel Vivet: "There's a lot of talk about pardons for prisoners, but not about what will happen to those of us who are about to enter prison"
Pro-independence activist Marcel Vivet, who was sentenced last Wednesday to five years in prison for public disorder, assaulting a police officer and causing minor injuries to Catalan police officer, admits that he did not expect such a harsh sentence and regrets that the Catalan Government did not lower its request when the judicial process began
How do you feel?
— I have gone from sadness and shock to pride in how we are facing it in the street, but I feel anger for the steps backwards we are taking and today is a sad day due to pardons.
Why is it a sad day?
— The Spanish government, with the connivance of some Catalan parties, is trying to close a cycle after years of self-organisation and mobilisations. It is an aesthetic operation of pardons because there are 3.000 victims of reprisals who have fought for their people and who have done nothing wrong.
Might your case and Adrià Sas's case be the first of many that take activists to prison?
— There is a lot of talk about pardons for political prisoners, but not about what will happen to me, Adrià Sas or Adrià Catasús, the young man from El Clot accused of the same crime as me, when we go to prison. All of us took part in peaceful demonstrations that the police reports turned violent and the judicial system is acting more and more forcefully. In fact, the sentence against me said that "urban guerrilla tactics" were used in the demonstration. Today it's me, but tomorrow there will be hundreds or thousands more sentenced.
Did you expect such a harsh sentence?
— The 21st Chamber of the Provincial Court of Barcelona does not often respect guarantees and usually imposes long sentences. We must remember that this same court recently sentenced Francisco Garrobo to three and a half years in prison for a roadblock during the general strike. I didn't imagine, though, that the prison sentence would be so close to the accusation's demands. And even more so when my conviction is based solely on the statement of the injured officer without any image to prove it.
The sentence admits that there is no "conclusive" images to incriminate you.
— The images do not show any attacks by demonstrators and do show indiscriminate charges by the police.
You have denounced pressure from the government, including on your mother, to reach a deal that implied admitting the charges in exchange for avoiding prison. What was it like?
— The number 2 in the Department of Home Affairs called my mother directly before the trial, which was to be held on December 18, so that she pressured me to accept conciliation. He told her that the counsellor was very worried that I could get 5 years in prison and to make me rethink my decision. My mother understood that it was personal blackmail and that I would not accept the sentence because there was no public disorder. Previously, the legal services of the Generalitat also pressured my lawyer into accepting the agreement they were proposing.
Curiously, the trial was suspended until after the 14-F elections
— At the trial, outside the courtroom, they asked us again to make a deal, but we refused. And just afterwards we got the news that two Mossos officers were ill. Adrià Sas had recently been convicted on similar charges and it had generated controversy. With the elections coming up, I suppose they didn't want the image of a councillor who claims to be pro-independence to be tarnished if I was convicted, and so it was postponed until 22 February of this year.
The day after you were sentenced Alerta Solidaria denounced that there is another young man accused for the same events. Will this be one of the main points of the appeal?
— It will be one of the points, yes, because a crime of false testimony has been established. The Department of the Home Affairs knew about the duplicity of the accusations and withdrew from this second case for this reason because of the attention my case is getting.
In a later statement, the Mossos assured that the body "in no case attributed the same facts to two different people" and detailed that Vivet was accused of giving a blow to the wrist to the wounded agent while Catasús allegedly hit the helmet.
— This is false and can be verified in the accusations. They speak only of a blow and an injury to the wrist, and at the trial the agent said that he had only received one blow.
Does it console you that the Department of Home Affairs described the sentence as "disproportionate"?
— I am not consoled. Why didn't they act accordingly earlier and ask for a shorter sentence? And I don't want to go into the fact that the agent was only on sick leave for 24 hours, because this alleged slap on the wrist didn't exist. The Mossos have invented police reports looking for a double accusation in our case.
ERC and JxCat subscribed a symbolic declaration at the request of the CUP at the meeting of parliamentary spokespersons against the sentence. Is it contradictory as members of the Government?
— Symbolic declarations are the specialty of these two parties and they will serve them up for us one after the other as it has been happening in recent years. We will go to the grave with a symbolic statement saying that we are still alive. Symbolism is useless when they don't stop backtracking in the face of an anti-democratic state.