Lawyers of Catalan separatists accuse police of ‘humiliation’ | News

Madrid, Spain – Six of the nine jailed Catalan pro-independence leaders have asked for a three-week delay in their trial over the bid to make the region independent from Spain.

Lawyers representing the separatists on Tuesday cited “flagrant violations” of their clients’ rights and a need to study the evidence to be presented during the trial, which is set to begin on February 12.

The accused, including former regional Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras, are charged with rebellion, disobedience and embezzlement of public funds in relation to the October 1, 2017, referendum on independence.

The referendum saw an overwhelming amount of voters cast a ballot for secession, though the turnout was less than half of the eligible voters due to a police crackdown, and the subsequent unilateral declaration of independence from Spain on October 27.

The alleged rights violations occurred last Friday, when nine of the 12 accused were transferred from prisons near Barcelona, where they had been held in pretrial detention for roughly a year, to the ones near Madrid, where they now wait to stand trial. 

The complaint was filed by Jordi Pena, the lawyer representing Jordi Sanchez, a civil society leader. Two parliamentarians, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, said they were locked inside “very small compartments” during the three-hour journey, placing them in “unnecessarily dangerous conditions”.

The complaint also cited a video shot during the drive by the Spanish Civil Guard, the country’s national police force, and released on social media.

The video allegedly shows the police making fun of both the prisoners and their supporters, who had lined the streets during the journey

The defence lawyers have called the transfer of prisoners a “humiliating treatment”.

When asked for a comment, Spain’s Civil Guard referred Al Jazeera to a statement saying its Director General has suspended the officer responsible for taking the video.

‘Trial of the century’

The Catalan media has dubbed the trial of the 12 separatists the “trial of the century”, saying Spain’s treatment of the arrested leaders will have resounding implications.

In a statement shared with Al Jazeera on February 1, pro-independence Catalan President Quim Torra said the “trial will change our country forever and its relationship with the Kingdom of Spain”.

Sebastian Balfour, British historian and professor emeritus of contemporary Spanish studies at the London School of Economics, told Al Jazeera he knows of “no analogous trials”, especially since Spain began its transition to democracy in 1975. 

Catalonia has its own language, and insists on its culture being separate from the Spanish majority. The decades-old independence movement in the region saw massive repression during the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

Franco, who ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975, launched a homogenisation campaign by outlawing minority languages and public display of minority culture.

Lluis Companys of the left-wing Catalan Republican Left, who was also the president of Catalonia from 1934 until1940, declared a Catalan state within Spain in protest against the right-wing government.

Companys fled to France after Franco took power in 1939, but “was handed over to the Francoist authorities from his exile” by the Nazi police.

“After a trial that lasted barely an hour, he was executed,” Balfour said. “But that was during a fascist dictatorship, not a democracy. This is a different context altogether.”


Source link

more recommended stories

  • Libya death toll rises to 205 as Tripoli fighting continues: WHO | News

    At least 205 people have been.

  • Magnitude 6.1 earthquake hits east Taiwan, no major damage | News

    A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has struck.

  • Mueller report to be released on Thursday: 5 things to look for | News

    US Attorney General William Barr has.

  • Ethiopia: Former jail to become museum | Ethiopia News

    The administration of Ethiopia‘s southeastern Somali.

  • Voting underway in Indonesia’s biggest election | News

    Indonesians have started voting to choose.

  • Why is Notre Dame important to France? | France News

    Notre Dame Cathedral is one of.

  • Jailed Reuters journalists honoured with Pulitzer Prize | News

    Two jailed reporters for the Reuters.

  • Are foreign powers worsening the conflict in Libya? | Middle East

    Libya’s rival forces are intensifying their.

  • India’s poll body accused of bias as election complaints pile up | India News

    New Delhi, India – In 2011,.

  • Sudan military vows to reform intelligence service amid protests | News

    Sudan‘s ruling military council has announced.

  • Russia in Africa: Inside a military training centre in CAR | Central African Republic

    Russia is back in the Central.

  • Think you can survive in Bangkok’s art world?

    Curate an art exhibition and survive.

  • Sudan’s military removes al-Bashir: All the latest updates | News

    Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has been.

  • British MPs say WikiLeaks’ Assange should face justice in Sweden | News

    More than 70 British members of.

  • ‘Not pawns’: US mayors decry Trump’s sanctuary city threat | USA News

    Democratic US mayors said on Friday.

  • Algerians take to the streets as anger mounts at interim leader | Algeria News

    Algerian police tried but failed to.

  • ‘Guard your revolution’: Sudan protests continue despite curfew | News

    Organisers of the months-long demonstrations that.

  • US charges WikiLeaks’ Assange with ‘computer hacking conspiracy’ | News

    Washington, DC – US prosecutors have charged.

  • India elections: Voting under way for first phase | India News

    Indians are voting in the first.

  • US, China ‘agree to establish trade deal enforcement offices’ | News

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

  • New Zealand passes gun law reform in wake of Christchurch attack | New Zealand News

    Auckland, New Zealand – New Zealand’s.

  • Israel elections: Netanyahu and main rival in tight race | News

    Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was.

  • Hope blossoms in spring as Afghans keep close eye on peace talks | Asia

    Asasabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan – The.

  • Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ protest leaders found guilty | News

    Hong Kong – A Hong Kong.

  • Three US troops, one contractor killed in Afghanistan explosion | Afghanistan News

    Three US service members and a.

  • Sudan security forces ‘fire tear gas’ at protesters in Khartoum | News

    Security forces in Sudan fired tear.

  • Sudanese protesters keep up pressure on Bashir | News

    Thousands of protesters have rallied for.

  • World Health Day: 10 Must-Watch Documentaries | Maternal health

    What is it like to live.

  • Mozambique’s Beira buckles from the brunt of Cyclone Idai | News

    Beira, Mozambique – Ripped off rooftops,.

  • In Tehran, Rouhani and Abdul Mahdi back deeper Iran-Iraq ties | Iran News

    Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

  • Five years after West Africa’s Ebola pandemic: Where are we now? | Africa

    Yusuf Kabba is a 30-year-old teacher.

  • Thousands rally in Mali to protest against ethnic violence | News

    Thousands of people have rallied in.