Prosecution of Catalan politicians does not solve Spain's constitutional crisis
Only political dialogue will help to solve the problem (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns that it should not be left to the Spanish criminal courts to solve the Catalonia crisis. “Catalonia’s uncertain future is a political and social problem – and there has to be a political solution, instead of prosecution. If the Spanish government decides to rely on prosecution instead of entering a long overdue dialogue with the Catalan independence movement, this will only stir up the tensions between the conflicting parties,” emphasized Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Saturday. “Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy must finally learn the lessons of the regional election of December 23, 2017, in which he lost a lot of votes. He must enter a credible dialogue with those who are striving for independence!” On Friday, the country’s Supreme Court announced proceedings against 25 leading Catalan politicians – based on charges of separatism and other crimes.
Judge Pablo Llarena formally charged 13 leading representatives of the independence movement with “rebellion”. They are now facing up to 30 years imprisonment. On Friday, five of the politicians were arrested for absconding – including Jordi Turull, who was considered the most likely candidate to chair the regional government. A further seven politicians were released under strict conditions until their trial, and five independence supporters were released without conditions.
At least seven leading Catalan politicians have now sought refuge abroad – in Belgium, Switzerland, and Scotland. Only yesterday, the Secretary General of the Republican Left of Catalonia, Marta Rovira, escaped arrest by fleeing to Switzerland. Given the judiciary’s current course of action, the pro-European lawyer predicted that many more Catalan politicians might leave the country. “For most of the Catalan people, these political refugees are martyrs. This won’t help to solve the Catalonia crisis,” Delius warned. “Apart from that, this will add to the dispute over the validity of international arrest warrants, creating further tensions on an international level – and only because the Spanish government is not doing its homework.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, criticized Spain’s line of action as well. In a speech to the UN Human Rights Council on March 7, 2018, he raised concerns about the legitimacy of preventive detention and called for political dialogue to resolve the constitutional crisis.
Headerphoto: La Moncloa - Gobierno de España via Flickr