“It is not convenient to cultivate more respect for the law than for the just.” With these words in favor of the civil disobedience of the American philosopher Henry Thoreau, the CUP deputy Pau Juvillà has closed his trial, accused of disobeying the order to remove four yellow ties from the window of his office in Lleida City Hall in 2019. The parliamentarian has defended that removing the symbols in favor of the freedom of the prisoners of the procés damaged his political ideas.
Aware of the difficulty of combating the precedent of the conviction of former president Quim Torra, the defense of Juvillà, exercised by the lawyer Carles López, has focused his thesis on highlighting the differences between the yellow ties exhibited in the Palau de la Generalitat and those of the window of the CUP office in La Paeria de Lleida. López has stressed that Juvillà was part of a political group that did not appear in the general elections of April 2019 and that therefore it was not obliged to maintain the neutrality required of the institutions in the electoral campaign. And being a political party and not an institution, the defense added, the ties were a legitimate exercise of their ideological freedom.
The defense arguments have not convinced the Prosecutor’s Office, which has confirmed the request for a fine of 1,440 euros and an eight-month disqualification from holding public office for a crime of disobedience, which in case of conviction would deprive Juvillà from his seat. The prosecutor José Joaquín Pérez de Gregorio has considered “perfectly accredited” that Juvillà twice breached the order of the Electoral Board of Lleida to withdraw the ties. And he has confirmed that the assumptions in the Juvillà case are the same as in Torra’s conviction.
The trial, held in the Civil and Criminal Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), lasted less than two hours and has been seen for sentence this Monday. In his statement as a defendant, Juvillà has defended not to withdraw the ties so as not to “self-censor” the ideas of the CUP and not to “injure” his ideological freedom.
The prosecutor asked about the tweet and the press article in which Juvillà He justified having ignored the Electoral Board (“Let’s claim our disobedience” was the title of his opinion), to which Juvillà recalled that all CUP decisions are taken jointly in assembly. “We kept the yellow ties out of commitment in the defense of freedoms,” stressed the parliamentarian.
The defense has also linked the order of the JEC to withdraw the ties, issued at the request of Ciudadanos, with the pact that the party had at that time with the PSC to govern Lleida. The lawyer recalled that the Citizens’ complaint asked the Lleida Provincial Council and the Generalitat delegations to also withdraw the ties, but that in the case of the consistory it did not ask the City Council or municipal groups.
Juvillà has linked this difference in the complaints with the fact that Ciudadanos wanted to save the “political cost” of withdrawing ties to the then mayor and partner Àngel Ros. In her statement as a witness, however, the Councilor for Citizens in Lleida, Ángeles Ribes, has denied that her complaint had “political connotation.”
The two mossos who removed the four ties from the window have also testified, explaining that, after receiving the court order, they entered the CUP office on April 13 with the keys given to them by the Lleida Urban Guard in the City Hall and that they encountered no resistance. And the then president of the municipal group of the CUP, Francesc Gabarell, has defended that the municipal assembly of the anti-capitalists decided not to withdraw the ties “because they asked to withdraw something that is not bad and that went against” the ideology of the party.
Before the trial, Juvillà, who is also the third secretary of the current Parliamentary Board, has received the support of CUP parliamentarians such as Xavier Pellicer and leaders of ERC and Junts, such as Oriol Junqueras and Laurà Borras, as well as of the sovereign entities Òmnium Cultural and the ANC in a concentration in front of the Palace of Justice in Barcelona.