The truth about how Spain is changing

Catalan separatist trial judgement: criminal intent

Oct 17, 2019, 5:34 pm
Thread: "The acts do not constitute a crime of rebellion"

1. In this next part of the judgement, the court explains why what they did is NOT rebellion. "The acts do not constitute a crime of rebellion". Let's see how the Supreme Court argues its conclusion and if that confused narrative that we have seen in the first half is there.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 5:34 pm | On Twitter

2. Let us remember that Article 472 of Spain's Criminal Code, the crime of rebellion, includes: - 1. Repealing, suspending or modifying the Constitution in whole or in part. - 5. Declaring the independence of a part of the national territory.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 5:37 pm | On Twitter

3. The key, as we shall see, is that the defendants must try to achieve those ends by rising up "violently and publicly". That was not always the case. Between 1981 and 1995 in Spain, a modified Article 214 (rebellion) did not require violence. Declaring independence was enough.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 5:41 pm | On Twitter

4. "Violence is therefore an essential element of the classification of the crime", Spain's Criminal Code includes physical violence as well as compulsion or psychological violence "equivalent to grave intimidation".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 5:45 pm | On Twitter

5. There were episodes of violence, says the Supreme Court: "…the existence of violent acts during the secession process has been sufficiently accredited". On Sept 20, "the necessary coercive and intimidating environment" was created to force the Civil Guard to desist.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 5:49 pm | On Twitter

6. “But it is not sufficient to certify indisputable episodes of violence to proclaim that those acts constitute a crime of rebellion", says the Supreme Court. Violence must be "instrumental, functional, directly pre-ordered, without intermediate steps”, as regards the aims.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 5:52 pm | On Twitter

7. Prosecutor's Office places the beginning of the whole affair in 2012. Five years later, in Sept 2017, they passed the Transition and Referendum Acts and had already repealed the Constitution in Catalonia, PRIOR TO "to the paradigmatic acts of violence" on Sept 20 and Oct 1.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 5:58 pm | On Twitter

8. "It would therefore be acts completing a process, not acts instrumental in carrying out what was already a reality". The Supreme Court notes on page 267 of the ruling that the repeal of the Spanish Constitution in Catalonia "was already a reality".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:01 pm | On Twitter

9. In any case, the Supreme Court ruled, the violence was by no means sufficient to achieve secession, "to de facto impose EFFECTIVE territorial independence and the repeal the Spanish Constitution in Catalan territory".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:09 pm | On Twitter

10. "…the proven facts describe moments of obstruction of the execution of jurisdictional decisions", says the Supreme Court, not violence sufficient to achieve one of the aims of the crime of rebellion: to repeal the Constitution or declare the independence of Catalonia.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:15 pm | On Twitter

11. Question: how much violence does it take to achieve an effective repeal of the Constitution or the declaration of independence of a Spanish region if the instigators ARE ALREADY THE ESTABLISHED POWER in that region? There is no answer in this section of the judgement.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:20 pm | On Twitter

12. The Constitutional Court declared the disconnection laws unconstitutional and Rajoy suspended home rule in Catalonia. Puigdemont undertook "sudden flight" abroad and those who remained "unconditionally gave up on the adventure they had undertaken".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:23 pm | On Twitter

13. Question: if the real aim, according to the Supreme, was not secession but to pressure the government and certify the impotence of judges in Catalonia—there's another section on their intentions coming up—why then did the government feel the need to suspend home rule?
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:29 pm | On Twitter

14. If we are talking about facts and interpretations of intentions, and read the gazette suspending home rule, Rajoy's government understood that they were off, that they wanted to secede, the independence of Catalonia, that the Spanish Constitution was in danger there.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:35 pm | On Twitter

15. In the same way, what need was there to send 6,000 police reinforcements, 90% of the reserves from the rest of Spain, if the defendants only wanted to prove that judges in Catalonia were powerless? Why exactly did they want to prove THAT? Just to make a big fuss?
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:39 pm | On Twitter

16. On page 270, the elements of the key narrative offered by the Supreme Court return: "the rhetorical display", "the promised independence", "a mere chimera", "the defendants were aware of this". According to this version, the Spanish state maintained control at all times.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:43 pm | On Twitter

17. On that same page, more narrative: there was, according to the Supreme Court, no real risk to the Spanish Constitution in Catalonia in 2017. Everything was "a dream of the actor", "a deceptive artifice" to mobilise sheep citizens; it was not "the true purpose of the actors".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:50 pm | On Twitter

18. Page 271: the vote was nothing more than "the strategic formula for political pressure the defendants intended to use on the central government", the defendants had no real means to subdue the state, "and they knew it". There was no real danger to the Constitution in 2017.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 6:54 pm | On Twitter

19. Violence was not enough and they did not seek the secession of Catalonia, says court. Just to convince the government to let them…secede from Spain. WHAT…? Supreme Court agrees with Santi Vila, one of the defendants: their aim was to "tighten the rope without snapping it".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 7:01 pm | On Twitter

20. "the defendants knew […] there is no legal framework for a secession", "they knew […] it would never be approved by international observers", they knew that "breaking with the state required more than the stubborn repetition of slogans". Sheep citizens? Naive, says court.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 7:06 pm | On Twitter

21. Supreme Court finds it "particularly significant" that Puigdemont—the fugitive defendant who fled to Belgium and who has not testified—left "the declaration of independence on hold" on October 10. Rajoy did not know if he had put it on hold or not with home rule warning.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 7:11 pm | On Twitter

22. In addition to Santi Vila, the Supreme Court believes, in relation to their intentions, the testimony of Artur Mas ("it was a will to do a deal with the state"), Marta Pascal ("wanted to call elections"), Neus Munté (“only a scenario of dialogue was contemplated"), and…
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 7:16 pm | On Twitter

23. …Basque First Minister Iñigo Urkullu, because Puigdemont had asked him "to 'mediate' between the Catalan government and Prime Minister Rajoy" and because Puigdemont had expressed "his will to avoid a declaration of independence".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 7:20 pm | On Twitter

24. "The acts carried out were in fact intended to persuade the Spanish Government", writes the Supreme Court. Once again, separatist citizens are relegated to the role of submissive sheep on the receiving end of the "misleading message" about the independence of Catalonia.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 7:23 pm | On Twitter

25. At the end of the section on why it is not rebellion, the Supreme Court says the real plan was hidden from citizens and that "in no case" were they going to secede from Spain “WITHOUT GOVERNMENT ASSENT”. It had no “real and appreciable legal effects".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 7:28 pm | On Twitter

26. Question: at what point in history has a unilateral declaration of independence that seeks precisely to bypass the Constitution without the assent of the government of the nation ever been legal and constitutional?
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 7:30 pm | On Twitter

27. If I have understood this correctly, the Supreme Court—from 400 witnesses and 146,000 files on 513 GB of hard drive from the case, plus all of the public information—has accepted Vila, Mas and Urkullu-Puigdemont's version of the true intentions of the defendants?
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 7:36 pm | On Twitter

28. Moving from rebellion to sedition, the Supreme Court points out once again that the defendants had no real desire to secede from Spain; they suffered from a "lack of effective will".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 8:57 pm | On Twitter

29. Supreme Court says the apparent contradiction between proclaiming the republic to the sheep citizens and really wanting to negotiate with the Rajoy government at the same time is “insurmountable”, according to defendants' testimony at trial [note: they may lie on the stand].
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 9:05 pm | On Twitter

30. It is not rebellion because the violence was neither sufficient nor functional and the ultimate purpose was only to negotiate with Rajoy, but they can't just walk free—court does not share "the principle of insignificance", nor can there be "total impunity"—so sedition.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 9:14 pm | On Twitter

31.The Supreme Court recognises that rebellion is a crime against constitutional order and sedition is a crime against public order, specifically and "publicly and tumultuously" "to prevent, by force or outside of legal means, the application of the laws".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 9:37 pm | On Twitter

32. The uprising in sedition does not have to be violent.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 9:37 pm | On Twitter

33. You can get to sedition just by looking at what happened in schools on October 1, 2017, says the Supreme Court. All of that not letting the Mossos in, all of that "nonviolent resistance" conceptualised by Cuixart's expert witnesses.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 9:44 pm | On Twitter

34. "The right to protest cannot mutate into an exotic right to the physically impede officers of authority from complying with a judicial order", let alone for a whole day "across an entire Spanish region" says the Supreme Court.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 9:48 pm | On Twitter

35. The court recognises that the whole affair was "mass, generalised and planned STRATEGICALLY". Correct, but a strategy always has an aim, a goal. According to the Supreme Court, they set all that up just to prevent judges and officers from acting.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 9:52 pm | On Twitter

36. The Mossos, says the Supreme Court, gave up on Oct 1, 2017 in a "shameful, resigned or in some cases almost complacent" manner, with episodes of "complicity and almost connivance". Whoever wrote this paragraph wrote "REBEL citizens" instead of "seditious citizens".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 9:57 pm | On Twitter

37. "The proven facts of this our ruling show that what happened on September 20 and October 1, 2017 was far from a peaceful and legitimate protest demonstration".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 10:01 pm | On Twitter

38. "And the conduct on October 1 implied the use of sufficient force to neutralise police officers who legitimately tried to prevent the vote, being obliged to so expressly by a court order".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 10:04 pm | On Twitter

39. Those convicted of the misuse of public funds “carried out acts of manifest disloyalty in the administration of public funds", says the Supreme Court.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 10:07 pm | On Twitter

40. The misuse of public funds: - "The use of public funds that we take as proven far exceeds the amount of 250,000 euros" - "They did it in order to hold an illegal referendum, which they had absolutely no competence for"
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 10:10 pm | On Twitter

41. Regarding the pro-forma invoices at Unipost, or repeated refusal to accept payment announced during the trial, Supreme Court says it does not matter: as soon as the requested service is performed, the damage to the public coffers takes place, with the commitment.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 10:18 pm | On Twitter

42. “Expenses have to be recognised regardless of the moment in which the payment is made". "The obligation arises at the time the service is provided by the businessman".
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 10:21 pm | On Twitter

43. Regarding the contempt conviction for Vila, Borrás and Mundó, “their responsibility is linked to the neglect of the requests received from the Constitutional Court” as members of the Catalan Government.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 10:34 pm | On Twitter

44. And finally in this section, Supreme Court rejects the criminal organisation conviction Vox wanted: “…both rebellion and sedition are plural, collective, tumultuous crimes", not necessarily incompatible with “an organised vanguard” but that's not the case here.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 10:35 pm | On Twitter

45. We reach page 297 of the judgement, where the section on personal responsibility for the crimes begins. Tomorrow we shall see how the court fists each crime to each defendant. Thank you for reading today.
Published: Oct 17, 2019, 10:38 pm | On Twitter

Get The Spain Report by email

Get original, detailed, independent reporting and analysis of the stories changing Spain. Full-text articles delivered right to your inbox, in English. You can also choose to get them in Spanish. No ads, no spam. Just readers.

What is The Spain Report?

Independent reporting and analysis of the most important stories changing the country, written by Matthew Bennett, a British journalist who has been living and working in Spain for most of the past 20 years. Read more

Questions, stories, interviews, tips: matthew@thespainreport.com
WhatsApp/Signal: (0034) 647 81 81 43
Twitter: @matthewbennett

©2020 Matthew Bennett
The Spain Report | In English | En español