Politics 18/06/2021

Three associations of judges ask Sánchez to prevent the approval of the report of the Council of Europe on prisoners

They criticise the text because it calls into question "the objectivity" of the Spanish judiciary

ARA
3 min
Image of the trial court of the Trial of the Trial

BarcelonaThree Spanish judges' associations have made their rejection of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Council of Europe report that calls for the release of political prisoners public this Friday. The report was rejected because it calls into question "the objectivity" of the Spanish justice system and, specifically, the trial and sentencing of the Independence bid. The Professional Association of the Magistracy, the Francisco de Vitoria Judicial Association and the Independent Judicial Forum go a little further and make an explicit request to the Spanish government: they ask it to "deploy the diplomatic instruments at its disposal" to prevent the approval of this report in the assembly of the Council of Europe, because they consider it "unfair and dishonourable to one of the powers of the State".

The same day that the contents of the report became known, at the beginning of June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a statement in which it made a completely different interpretation. It claimed that the text "endorsed Spain's actions" over political prisoners and that the Spanish justice system had defended the "legality violated" by pro-independence leaders. The three associations of judges which issued the statement believe the report gives a bad image of Spanish courts and therefore also ask parties with representation in the Assembly of the Council of Europe that they "expose clearly" that the text "departs radically from the reality of the operation of the judicial bodies in Spain". They also demand the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) to denounce its "falsehoods and inaccuracies".

The three judicial associations warn that the report "reproves [Spain] for politicians being judged by statements made in the exercise of their functions", an extreme they censure and claim is untrue. They reject that "politicians or citizens can be persecuted for expressing their political opinions" and understand that this has not happened in the case of the trial of the Independence bid. They criticise, in fact, that the events of October 2017 and the actions of pro-independence leaders throughout the Independence bid are presented as a "mere political discrepancy that can be addressed in the context of political debate". They believe that this reflects "a lack of knowledge about the damage to essential legal assets such as public peace, public safety and the proper administration of public funds"

Rejection of the comparison of Spain with Turkey

In this sense, they defend that the sentence of the Supreme Court was issued "with scrupulous respect for all the guarantees of a fair process" and recall that it was ratified by the Constitutional Court. The three judicial associations, on the other hand, ignore the fact that there were two the high court magistrates who issued two dissenting votes in Jordi Sànchez's, Jordi Cuixart's, Jordi Turull's and Josep Rull's appeals.

That is why they censure that the Council of Europe makes "affirmations that call into question the objectivity and transparency of the judiciary in Spain and its commitment to guarantee freedom and fundamental rights". In addition, they regret that Spain is equated with Turkey, because they consider that the political regime, the rule of law and democratic guarantees "differ in a resounding way". They also believe that the differences are of a "patent and well-known nature".

They believe that the report endorses the positions of the pro-independence leaders who, according to the three judicial associations, intended to carry out a "smear campaign against the Spanish judicial bodies in anticipation of a conviction that they saw as certain". "Calling into question the quality of democracy in Spain and the work of the courts and their defence of fundamental rights, insinuating complicity in the ideological persecution of citizens, is a fallacy that has to be repaired," they conclude.

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