There was a not too distant time when the Generalitat and the Parliament of Catalonia went hand in hand with the Prosecutor’s Office of the National Court and the pseudo-union Manos Limpias to request jail against activists. It was the case Aturem el Parlament, the 15-M protest against the social cuts that the Government of Artur Mas consummated by virtue of its pact with the PP in 2011 and of which last Tuesday was ten years old. The families of the eight convicts, who remain at liberty without knowing if they will have to go to prison, have lived this decade with anguish, but also with solidarity and hope. To this day, they are still waiting to know if the Government grants them the pardon they requested more than six years ago.
Mercè Juan, mother of Olga, one of those convicted, recalls the long days of trial at the headquarters of the National Court of San Fernando de Henares, in an inhospitable industrial estate on the outskirts of Madrid. “The space is dehumanizing, but there families help each other even though our children came from different political backgrounds: only the father and mother who are going through the same thing as you can understand you,” he recalls. “Ten years later we are tired, but we have learned a lot,” he adds.
The circumstance occurs that the imminent pardon to the prisoners of the procés will advance the resolution on the measure of grace of those sentenced by the protest in the Parliament despite the fact that their case is prior to that of the procés. Mercè Juan is not concerned that her daughter’s pardon will take longer than that of the independence leaders. “We have no resentment, but some prisoners of the procés applauded our condemnation,” he explains, while contrasting the testimonies of the CiU deputies with those of the rest of the political groups in the trial against his daughter. “The people from Convergència said they had a terrible time. They condemned my daughter for saying ‘you don’t represent us’ to Santi Vila. The rest said they were occupational hazards, and Ernest Maragall was the one who expressed it best: he said that the protest went with the position “.
Discarding the accusations of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Generalitat, Parliament and Clean Hands, the National Court acquitted all the defendants – except for one, whom it condemned for a lack of damages for painting the jacket of the former councilor Montserrat Tura – in a sentence of which The magistrate Ramón Sáez was the speaker – the same one who wrote the acquittal of Major Josep Lluís Trapero – and that for many jurists is a manual for the defense of the right to assembly and freedom of expression. The sentence counted on the particular vote of the magistrate Fernande Grande-Marlaska, current Minister of the Interior.
Without hearing the defendants again – something irregular according to the European Court of Human Rights, which condemned Spain for this in the Atutxa case – the Supreme Court subsequently sentenced eight of the protesters to three years in prison for a crime against women. State institutions. There were no deputies injured, and the vote that approved the cuts ended after the deputies entered the Chamber escorted by the Mossos or by helicopter, as was the case with Artur Mas. But the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, in a sentence of which its president, Manuel Marchena, was the speaker, considered that the reproaches against the cuts that the defendants made to the deputies, or the fact that for a few seconds they prevented the passage they were actions of “force, violence, intimidation or serious threat” that punishes the crime against the high institutions of the State.
The newspaper library allows us to verify that the independence forces that now censor the Supreme Court for the process applauded the condemnation of the eight 15-M activists. “The sentence agrees with the majority sentiment of the people of Catalonia who believe that this could not remain as if nothing had happened,” said the then Government spokesman, the convergent Francesc Homs, later condemned by Marchena for the 9-N and that now he is part of the defense team for the procés prisoners. Only ICV-EUiA and the CUP openly criticized the sentence. ERC was halfway there. “We do not agree that the facts go unpunished, but the sentence is disproportionate,” the now president, Pere Aragonès, said in 2015.
“It was a ‘déjà vu'”
To Mercè Juan, some decisions of the Supreme Court in the case of the process were already familiar to him. “When political prisoners were told that they had caused intimidation or environmental violence, it was ‘déjà vu’.” “The judgment of the Supreme Court shows a very reactionary vision of the management of public space, which emerges both with the 15-M and with the procés”, assesses the lawyer Benet Salellas, who exercised one of the defenses of the case Aturem el Parlament and the President of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart.
“There is a continuity in this ideological vision contrary to the fundamental right of assembly and to European jurisprudence,” adds Salellas, for whom the Supreme Court ruling “made the right to demonstrate something folkloric, without taking into account the citizen who is weak to the time to confront power “. “Social conflict must be expressed peacefully, but it must be conflict,” he adds. The sentence of which Marchena was the speaker contrasted with the particular vote of the Supreme Perfect magistrate Andrés, who in a message to his colleagues in the Chamber wrote that the Aturem case, the Parliament had such “political connotations” that it would hardly “be possible to approximate of law that does not also include or translate a previous position taken by the interpreter on that other plane “.
The one defended by Salellas was the first to go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg after the Constitutional Court did not admit her appeal. But in a controversial decision, the ECHR rejected the claim, because in its opinion, in its appeal to the Constitutional Court, the “constitutional importance” of the case was not sufficiently specified. Other convicts are still waiting for the Constitutional Court to decide on their appeal for protection. The prospects are not good: a few days ago the magistrate Cándido Conde-Cumpido, in favor of estimating the resources, gave the presentation to another magistrate who collected the majority opinion of the court and endorsed the Supreme Court’s conviction.
Once the Constitutional ruling is issued, they will be able to go to Strasbourg. And they will continue to wait for the pardon. “We are doing it, we cannot allow ourselves to think that they will go to jail because if they do not cut your life,” concludes Juan, who emphasizes: “The ‘Ho tornarem a fer’ was already worn by our daughters on their shirts, and we will continue it saying very proudly: the cuts approved that day were an adversity that we still suffer. ”