Friday, November 21, 2014

Catalan President: it is “disappointing” that Spain’s reaction to November 9 is based on “courts and prosecutors”

 The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, reacted on Thursday to the announcement that the Director of Spain’s Public Prosecutor Office will press charges against him and 2 other members of his cabinet for having authorised and co-organised November 9’s symbolic vote on independence. Mas stated that “it is disappointing and pitiful” that the Spanish authorities’ reaction to the peaceful mobilisation of 2.3 million citizens is acting “though courts and prosecutors”. Despite the judicial complaint, Mas emphasised that Catalonia “will go on” with its “intentions, in a civic-minded, calm, democratic and firm way”. 


The complaint also includes the Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega, and the Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, who also reacted on Thursday. Both Ortega and Rigau said to feel “calm” about the fact of being prosecuted. However, the Vice President recognised she had a “bitter feeling” about the lack of political response from the Spanish authorities, which instead press charges against the Catalan Government. 
The President of the Catalan Government,
Artur Mas, on the Universal Children's Day (by ACN)
Ortega added she felt “an immense pride” and was fully convinced of having “respected the law” regarding November 9’s non-binding vote. Rigau emphasised that the judicial complaint was a product of “the political pressure” made by the Spanish Government and the People’s party (PP). However, she also said that such judicial processes cannot “make us walk away from our everyday tasks”. In fact, despite the complaint, Rigau kept her regular schedule and this Thursday she was opening a new school in Mollerussa, near Lleida (western Catalonia).

Barcelona’s main prosecutor will back the complaints against Mas

Besides, the show within the Public Prosecutor Office continued on Thursday, after 12 days of non-stop controversy. Now the main prosecutor in Barcelona Province, Ana Maria Magaldi, stated that not all Catalan prosecutors were against pressing charges against Mas. On top of this, she added that she will ask for the re-opening of all the cases against Mas in relation to November 9’s vote by backing all the complaints filed by citizens and political organisations. Furthermore, she will file appeals to readmit those complaints that have been already rejected by judges. After said announcement, Magaldi refused to answer any questions from journalists and she also refused to make any statement in Catalan, adding in a mocking way that she only spoke in Catalan “to say good morning, good afternoon, and that’s all”.

A summit among the main Catalan prosecutors for next week

After this episode, the main prosecutor of Catalonia, José María Romero de Tejada, announced a meeting for next Tuesday with the 4 provincial heads –including Magaldi – in order to set shared criteria regarding the complaints on November 9’s symbolic vote. The Public Prosecution Office is a hierarchical institution and, despite the fact that each prosecutor has his or her working autonomy, they are also obliged to obey orders from Spain’s top prosecutor, Eduardo Torres-Dulce, who is directly appointed by the Spanish Government.

The Director of Spain’s Public Prosecution Office denies any “rebellion” in Catalonia

In fact, Torres-Dulce also spoke on Thursday, after 12 days of controversy in which his autonomy has been seriously questioned. He stated that the fact of saying there are “rebel and mutinous prosecutors” in Catalonia was “an exaggeration”. On Monday evening, the prosecutors of the Catalan Supreme Court decided not to back Torres-Dulce’s intention to press charges against the Catalan President, although on Tuesday they added they would do it if they were ordered to do so, since they belong to a hierarchical institution.

ACN

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