Proceedings against Catalan politicians in Madrid (February 12)
Criminalization will not help to solve Catalonia crisis – Detained politicians must be released (Press release)
On Tuesday, on the occasion of the court proceedings against twelve leading Catalan politicians at the Supreme Court in Madrid, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demanded the defendants to be released. "The politicians have now been kept detained for more than a year, and the process clearly shows that Spain and Europe have failed to resolve an internal conflict," criticized Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen. The human rights advocate warned: "Every day of court proceedings will divide the Spanish and the Catalan people further. If the defendants are criminalized, it will become even more difficult to resolve the Catalonia crisis." Today is the first day of the court proceedings against twelve politicians who had organized a referendum on Catalonia's independence. The proceedings will probably go on for several months.
Nine of the politicians are facing up to 25 years imprisonment because they are also accused of "rebellion". "However, this would mean that they had used force to push through with the referendum on the future of Catalonia in the autumn of 2017. The way the referendum took place, this allegation can hardly be justified," Delius emphasized.
Delius stated that, for Spain's socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, the proceedings – much awaited by many conservatives – come at an inopportune time, and they will probably lead to more complicate negotiations with Catalonia's politicians. Several conservative parties had called for mass demonstrations for a united country, which clearly showed that the Spanish people are deeply divided. Delius demanded that the Catalonia crisis must no longer be instrumentalized in the scope of party politics, as it is not only Spain's future that is at stake. The issue also affects Europe's approach to dealing with minorities and nationalities in general.
The proceedings will also further divide the people of Catalonia – not just those who are clearly in favor or clearly against state independence, as even the independence advocates don't have a common strategy to achieve their goal. "If the people are divided even further, it will become more and more difficult to find a peaceful solution to the conflict," Delius warned.
Headerimage: Ramon Oromi via Flickr