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

  • ‘Boundless criminality’: Idlib market bombing toll rises to 38 | Battle for Idlib News

    Syrian and Russian air raids killed.

  • Australian swimmer’s podium snub to Chinese rival stirs row | South Korea News

    Australian swimmer Mack Horton has been.

  • Israeli troops begin demolishing scores of Palestinian homes | News

    Hundreds of Israeli troops, accompanied by.

  • Mexico says US noted ‘significant advances’ in curbing migration | Mexico News

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

  • ‘It’s something we use for fun’: A new street drug in Afghanistan | Drugs

    Names marked with an asterisk* have.

  • US to launch plan for ‘free passage’ of ships in Iran’s waterway | Iran News

    Aspen, Colorado – The United States.

  • Negotiations between Sudan’s military, protest leaders postponed | News

    Sudan’s alliance of opposition groups has.

  • Iran seizes British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz | News

    Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said.

  • Trump says US warship ‘destroyed’ Iranian drone in Gulf | Iran News

    The United States says a US Navy ship.

  • Trump’s racism and American exceptionalism | USA

    The uproar over US President Donald.

  • Iran seizes foreign oil tanker for ‘smuggling oil’, crew arrested | Iran News

    Iran‘s Revolutionary Guard Corps have seized.

  • Crowd chants ‘send her back’ as Trump renews attacks on Omar | USA News

    US President Donald Trump has intensified.

  • ‘Wizard’ arrested after hack of most Bulgarian taxpayers’ details | News

    A 20-year-old Bulgarian cybersecurity worker was.

  • US slaps sanctions on Myanmar army chief over Rohingya abuses | News

    The United States has announced sanctions.

  • Religious restrictions on the rise globally: report | News

    Religious restrictions are on the rise.

  • Iran hits back at US demands on ballistic missiles, proxy groups | News

    Iran has hit back at US.

  • Malaysia parliament to debate move to lower voting age to 18 | News

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia’s parliament.

  • El Salvador rape victim jailed for stillbirth goes on trial again | El Salvador News

    San Salvador, El Salvador – Evelyn.

  • Powerful earthquake rocks parts of eastern Indonesia | News

    A strong, shallow earthquake has struck.

  • Cricket: England beat New Zealand to win World Cup | News

    World Cup winners 1975 – West.

  • Barry weakens but Louisiana authorities warn threat remains | News

    Slow-moving tropical storm Barry has weakened.

  • Why is Turkey’s purchase of Russian weapons controversial? | USA

    A battle appears to be looming.

  • UK police warning to media over leaked memos stirs anger | News

    Senior British politicians, including both contenders.

  • The informal networks resisting Honduras’s abortion ban | Honduras

    Tegucigalpa, Honduras – At 22 years.

  • Suicide attack at Somalia hotel followed by gunfire | Somalia News

    A car bomb went off in.

  • Sudan’s ruling military council says coup attempt foiled | News

    Sudan‘s ruling military council (TMC) says.

  • Ghana’s president wants Africa-Europe relationship to change | Colonialism News

    Africa must change its relationship with.

  • Ex-UN chief joins chorus of concern over floods at Rohingya camps | News

    Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has.

  • US wants Senate-approved deal with Iran: US envoy Brian Hook | News

    The Trump administration wants a Senate-approved agreement.

  • After ISIL, children try to catch up with school in Mosul | ISIS/ISIL News

    Mosul, Iraq – It was the.

  • US wants military coalition to safeguard waters off Iran, Yemen | Iran News

    The United States says it is.

  • Israel’s separation wall endures, 15 years after ICJ ruling | News

    In the occupied West Bank, the.