dilluns, 19 de novembre de 2018

Two Fascist Meetings in Madrid in less than 24 hours praising Dictator Franco and Fascist leader Rivera

Last night thousands of Spanish Supremacists marched in the streets of Madrid praising Franco and Fascist leader Rivera. The march attacked Catalonia will of Democracy and claimed for the unity of Spain at any price. Again, this morning, Fascists took the streets of Madrid. Spanish police have intervened to keep trouble from erupting at a rally marking the anniversary of military dictator Francisco Franco's death after two feminist protesters interrupted the event in Madrid.

Up; 2018/11/18 Morning Meeting
Down; 2018/11/16 Night Marcch

Officers on horseback and on foot quickly moved to keep an angry crowd of about 200 away from the three members of the Feminist group Femen who ran into the gathering topless and with "Legal fascism, national shame" painted on their torsos.
The rally wass held on the Sunday falling closest to Nov. 20, the date Franco died in 1975. The Fascist Dictator ruled Spain for 36 years after leading a military uprising that started the Spanish Civil War.

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diumenge, 18 de novembre de 2018

The Catalan Company 1302 AD – 1388 AD

Charles of Anjou with a French army invaded Italy and conquered the Kingdom of Sicily in 1266, losing the island of Sicily in the War of the Sicilian Vespers from 1282, but retaining the Kingdom of Naples for his heirs. 

In 1282 the Sicilians revolted against Charles, massacred his French supporters and invited Pere III of Aragon to rule them. Bringing a force of Aragonese and Catalans, he fought the War of the Sicilian Vespers. Peace in 1301 left Sicily in Aragonese hands, Naples in Angevin hands and a dangerous surplus of Catalans, soon transferred to Byzantine service as the notorious Catalan Grand Company.

The Catalan Grand Company from its departure from Sicily until the fall of the state it founded in Greece to the Florentines. During this time it fought for both Byzantines and Romanian Franks, was short-changed by both, took a horrid revenge on both, and beat every Turkish, Byzantine and Frankish army that got in its way. Its Alan allies were allied only because hired by the Byzantines to assist the Grand Company. The relations between the two ranged from veiled hostility to naked hostility. After the Byzantine assassination of its great leader Roger de Flor, the company was largely commanded by committee, often through a figurehead. It is said to have been highly disciplined, although displaying extremely rapacious behaviour towards even friendly civilians. Despite having left Aragonese service under a cloud after backing the wrong heir, the Company continued to fight under the banner of Aragon [yellow with horizontal red stripes].

The Catalan companies in the East. – Andronicus could not master the situation without foreign aid, and he got such aid from the Catalan mercenary bands, the so-called “Catalan companies,” or “almughavars.” Mercenary bands of various nationalities, under the name of “companies,” which lived only for war and would fight for pay for anyone against anyone, were very well known in the latter half of the Middle Ages. “The Catalan companies,” which consisted not only of Catalans, but also of the inhabitants of Aragon, Navarre, the island of Majorca, and other places, fought as mercenaries on the side of Peter of Aragon during the war which burst out after the Sicilian Vespers. When at the very beginning of the fourteenth century a peace was concluded between Sicily and Naples, the Catalans were out of work. Such allies, accustomed to war, pillage, and violence, became in time of peace dangerous to those who had invited them, and who now tried to get rid of them. Moreover, the companies themselves, finding no satisfaction in peaceful living conditions, sought new opportunities for activity. The Catalans chose for leader Roger de Flor, a German by origin, whose father’s surname, Blum (i.e. a flower), was translated into Catalan as “Flor.” 

With the consent of his companions Roger, who spoke Greek fluently, offered his services to Andronicus II for his struggle with the Seljuq and Ottoman Turks and extorted from the hard pressed Emperor unheard-of conditions: the insolent adventurer demanded the consent of Andronicus to his marriage with the Emperor’s niece, the granting of the title of megadukas (admiral), and a large sum of money for his company. Andronicus was compelled to yield, and the Catalan companies took ship and sailed for Constantinople.

The participation of the Catalans in the destinies of Byzantium is narrated in detail both in the Catalan sources and in the Greek. But while a participant of the expedition, the Catalan chronicler Muntaner described Roger and his companions as courageous and noble fighters for a right cause, a credit to their country, Greek historians consider the Catalans pillagers and insolent ruffians, and one of them exclaimed: “Would that Constantinople had never seen the Latin Roger!” Historians of the nineteenth century devoted much attention to the Catalan expedition. A Spanish investigator of the problem compared their deeds with those of the famous Spanish conquerors of Mexico and Peru in the sixteenth century, Cortez and Pizarro; he does not know “what other people may plume themselves on such a historical event as our glorious expedition to the East,” and he considered the expedition an eternal testimony to the glory of the Spanish race. 

The German historian Hopf declared that “the Catalan expedition is the most attractive episode in the history of the Empire of the Palaeologi,” especially on account of its dramatic interest. Finlay wrote that the Catalans “guided by a sovereign like Leo III or like Basil II, might have conquered the Seljuq Turks, strangled the Ottoman power in its cradle, and carried the double-headed eagle of Byzantium victorious to the foot of Mount Taurus and to the banks of the Danube.” 
Elsewhere the same historian remarked: “The expedition of the Catalans in the East is a wonderful instance of the success which sometimes attends a career of rapacity and crime, in opposition to all the ordinary maxims of human prudence.” The Spanish archives still afford much new information on this expedition.

At the very beginning of the fourteenth century Roger de Flor with his company arrived in Constantinople. There were almost ten thousand members of the expedition; but this number included wives, mistresses, and children. The marriage of Roger to the Emperor’s niece was celebrated at Constantinople with great pomp. After some serious conflicts in the capital between the Catalans and Genoese, who, jealous for their exceptional privileges in the Empire, felt the newcomers their rivals, the company was finally transported into Asia Minor, where the Turks were besieging the large city of Philadelphia, east of Smyrna. Supported by a band of imperial troops the small Hispano-Byzantine army, under Roger de Flor, freed Philadelphia from the Turkish siege. The victory of the western mercenaries was enthusiastically received in the capital; some men thought that the Turkish danger to the Empire was over forever. 

The first success was followed by others against the Turks in Asia Minor. But the unbearable extortions and arbitrary cruelties of the Catalans towards the local population, on one hand, and the clearly expressed intention of Roger to establish in Asia Minor a principality of his own, though under the Emperor’s suzerainty, on the other, strained the relations between the mercenaries, the people of Asia Minor, and the government of Constantinople. The Emperor recalled Roger to Europe, and the latter with his company crossed the Hellespont and occupied first an important fortress on the straits of Gallipoli, and then the whole peninsula of Gallipoli. The new negotiations between Roger and the Emperor ended in Roger’s obtaining the title next to the Emperor’s, that of Caesar, never till then borne by a foreigner. Before marching again to Asia Minor the new Caesar went with a small band to Hadrianople, where the eldest son of Andronicus, the co-emperor Michael IX, resided. On Michael’s instigation, Roger and his companions were slain during a festival. When these tidings spread among the population of the Empire, the Catalans in the capital and other cities were also murdered. 

The Catalans, who were concentrated at Gallipoli, inflamed and thirsty for revenge, broke their obligations as allies of the Empire and set out to the West, ravaging with fire and sword the regions through which they passed. Thrace and Macedonia were terribly devastated. Not even monasteries on Mount Athos were spared. An eyewitness, a pupil of Daniel, igumen (abbot) of the Serbian monastery of Chilandarion, on Mount Athos, wrote: “It was horror to see then the desolation of the Holy Mountain by the hands of enemies.” The Catalans also burned the Russian monastery of St. Panteleemon, on Mount Athos, but their assault on Thessalonica failed. In retaliation for the Catalan devastations Andronicus commanded the merchandise of some Catalan vessels in the Byzantine waters seized and the merchants themselves arrested.

After having stayed some time in Thessaly, the Catalans marched to the south, through the famous pass of Thermopylae, into middle Greece to the territory of the Duchy of Athens and Thebes, which had been founded after the Fourth Crusade and was under French control. In the spring of 1311 there took place a battle in Boeotia, at the river of the Cephisus, near the Lake of Copais (near the modern village of Skripù). The Catalans won a decisive victory over the French troops. Putting an end to the flourishing French duchy of Athens and Thebes, they established there Catalan control which lasted for eighty years. The church of the Holy Virgin, the ancient Parthenon on the Acropolis, passed into the hands of the Catalan clergy, who were impressed by its sublimity and riches. In the second half of the fourteenth century a Catalan duke of Athens called the Acropolis “the most precious jewel that exists in the world, and such as all the kings of Christendom together would imitate in vain.”

The Athenian Duchy of the Catalans established by mere accident in the fourteenth century and organized upon Catalan or Sicilian models, has generally been considered a harsh, oppressive, and destructive government, which at Athens and in Greece in general has left very few material traces of its domination. On the Acropolis, for instance, the Catalans carried out some changes, especially in the disposition of the fortifications, but no traces of them remain. But in Greek popular tradition and in the Greek tongue there still linger reminiscences of the cruelty and injustice of the Spanish invaders. Even today, in some regions of Greece, for example, in the island of Euboea, a man in condemnation of illegal or unjust action may say: “Not even the Catalans would have done that.” In Acarnania to the present day the word “Catalan” is the synonym for “savage, robber, criminal.” At Athens the word “Catalan” is considered an insult. In some cities of the Peloponnesus, when one wishes to say that a woman possesses a bad character, one says, “She must be a Catalan woman.”

But recently much new material, especially in the Archives of Barcelona (the archives de la Corona d’Aragó), has come to light which shows that the conception of former historians on this subject was biased. The years of the Catalan domination in middle Greece in the fourteenth century were not only troubled and destructive; they were productive. The Acropolis, which was called in Catalan Castell de Cetines, was fortified; for the first time since the closing of the Athenian school by Justinian the Great, a university was established at Athens. 
Catalan fortifications were also erected in middle and northern Greece. A modern Catalan historian, the best recent authority on the Catalan problem in Middle Greece, A. Rubió y Lluch, declared, “The discovery of a Catalan Greece is, in our opinion, one of the most unexpected surprises the modern investigators have had in the history of medieval political life.” Of course, the full story of the Catalan dominion in Greece remains to be learned; but we must realize that the older works and former opinions on this problem of many very eminent scholars must be rectified, and that a new history of the Catalan dominion in Greece must be told on the basis of new material. 

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dissabte, 17 de novembre de 2018

Nobel Peace Prize Muhammad Yunus meets Catalonia's President

Nobel Peace Prize Muhammad Yunus, from Dhaka, Bangladesh, said that: "Everybody knows about the current situation in Catalonia." in his meeting with Quim Torra in the headquarters of the Catalan autonomous Government in Barcelona. "Old roads drives to old destinations! We need new roads!”, said Yunus. Spain, in all her colonies, has choosen the old roads of repression, jail, banning and killings.

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divendres, 16 de novembre de 2018

Letter of support – stop the repression against Catalan university professors!

This letter expresses our indignation over the decision by the Spanish judiciary to prosecute two political scientists and three jurists. The political scientists Jordi Matas (full professor, Universitat de Barcelona), Tània Verge (associate professor, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) and the jurists Marc Marsal (part-time lecturer, Universitat de Barcelona), Josep Pagès (part-time lecturer, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and Marta Alsina (lawyer) were appointed members of the Electoral Commission in September 2017 by the Parliament of Catalonia to monitor the self-determination referendum to be held on October 1, 2017. The Spanish government challenged the legality of this referendum and about ten days before it took place, the Spanish Constitutional Court forced all the electoral commissioners to resign by imposing a fine of 12.000 Euros per person for each day that they remained in their position. Even though they resigned, the Spanish judiciary went a step further and decided to prosecute the members of the Electoral Commission. They currently face criminal charges of “disobedience” and “usurpation of functions” and are facing the very real possibility of up to two years and nine months in prison.

It is probably the first time in the history of the European Union that political scientists and jurists are being threatened with a prison sentence for just doing their job, which is both outrageous and disproportionate. After all, these political scientists and jurists’ only ‘crime’ consisted in using their expertise to guarantee that the referendum would be held in a fair and impartial way. In doing so, they acted at the request of the Parliament of Catalonia which had a valid legal mandate at the time that derived from Act 19/2017 relating to the self-determination referendum of Catalonia. Our colleagues therefore did nothing illegal since the Spanish Criminal Code does not have any specific legal provision to punish the organising of referendums, even if they are not authorised by the central state. Thus, their prosecution is not only a spurious one but is also grounded in political reasons, which is a blatant violation of human rights.

We, the undersigned, professors of political science, law and other disciplines, denounce Spain’s persecution of basic democratic and civil rights. While we do not seek to take a position on Catalonia’s independence in this letter, we firmly condemn the illegality of imprisoning someone because of her or his political beliefs. The global community of university professors is indignant over the prosecution of our colleagues and demand the immediate removal of the threat of a prison sentence and the dropping of all criminal charges filed against them.
TO ADD YOUR SIGNATURE, PLEASE EMAIL: catalunyademocracia@gmail.com

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dijous, 15 de novembre de 2018

IOC urges federations not to hold events in Spain until Kosovo stance resolved

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reportedly urged international federations not to stage events in Spain unless the country can guarantee equal participation to all competitors including athletes from Kosovo.

The warning comes in the wake of controversy after the Spanish government prohibited Kosovan participants from competing under their flag at the 2018 Karate World Championships in Madrid.

"If the Spanish Government are not in the conditions to guarantee the access not only to Kosovo but to every athlete to compete, we should warn all IFs [international federations] that, until this is solved, they should not hold international competitions there," the IOC's director for National Olympic Committee (NOC) relations, Pere Miro, was quoted as saying by Inside The Games.

Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, was recognized as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2014, receiving the right to participate in international sports events as an independent state.

Recognition of Kosovo remains a problematic issue for Spain, whose own territory, Catalonia, voted to separate from the kingdom in a referendum held in the fall of 2017.

Earlier this year, Spain was stripped of the right to host the 2018 European junior weightlifting championships over the country’s insistence on not recognizing Kosovo as an independent state.

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dimecres, 14 de novembre de 2018

Spanish police kidnapped two Catalan boys

Spanish police in Catalonia yesterday kidnapped two Catalan boys. Both could be activists from the Committees in Defence of the Republic. Thirty hours after their disappearance the Spanish police did not disclose the whereabouts of the detainees, not even to their families and lawyers. "The Spanish police does not tell, neither to the families nor to the lawyers, where the two CDRs arrested yesterday are. They have spent the night in the Verneda police station, but have not been moved to the Ciutat de la Justícia [courts building]." Spain has been condemned several times for torture cases but later Spanish police sanctioned for torture 'were promoted'.   Political persecution in full swing in S'pain.

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dimarts, 13 de novembre de 2018

Bill for abolition of the monarchy to be taken to Catalan town councils

The Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) has agreed to turn the Catalan Parliament's resolution calling for the abolition of the Spanish monarchy into a motion for town councils to give their support for the proposal. This was announced by AMI's president, Josep Maria Cervera, after this Friday's executive committee meeting in Sant Celoni.

The motion's objective is to "denounce the anti-democratic activity of this anachronistic monarchy and the need to abolish it", Cervera said.

The text of the motion will adapt the bill passed on 11th October in the Catalan chamber. That bill also censured king Felipe for his stance on and involvement in the Catalan conflict. The Spanish government has already announced its intention to take the bill to the Constitutional Court. Cervera also said they'll carry out a joint meeting with the Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM) to demonstrate "unity" to realise the Catalan Republic.

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dilluns, 12 de novembre de 2018

Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont: "we're in the middle of a historic process"

The Catalan president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, has said, in an interview with German-language Danish newspaper Nordschleswiger, that over the last 12 months he's "learnt a lot". Speaking to Basque journalist Martxelo Otamendi, who asks him what he's learnt specifically, the president's simple is short and to the point: "That Spain deceived us".

Puigdemont, who is self-critical in the interview, admits that they made "mistakes" a year ago but that they got more things right: "the positive things outweigh the negatives by far". "The 1st October 2017 (day of the independence referendum in Catalonia) and 27th October 2017 (proclamation of the independent Catalan Republic) are two key moments that are still in effect and remain inseparable from one another. We've set in motion a process that has not yet been implemented in this way anywhere". As such, he argues, it's too early for a final evaluation, "we're in the middle of a historic process".
He does, however, cite two positives he sees as having come from the process so far: "Catalonia is today a political player. The Catalonia question is on the European agenda and is well-known around the world. That wasn't the case before. We made the Catalan revolution compatible with the modern world. It's not the child of the last century's nationalism".
Puigdemont also discusses his departure from Catalonia, denying reports he flew to Brussels from Marseilles. He also emphasises that "we didn't leave Catalonia illegally: we still hadn't received any summons to testify before the court".

Finally, he explains the Council for the Republic. "It's a promise that was made a long time ago and which was delayed by my detention in Germany. The Council won't be a public institution and will do things outside of the country that can't be said or done in Catalonia to achieve independence. In a first phase, only members of the Parliament will be part of the Council. We'll present the second phase on 8th December at a broad meeting of elected representatives in Belgium and explain it in detail.
According to Puigdemont, the Council will become fully active "as soon as it has the backing of a million people". It will consist of 100 people: 25 will be members of Parliament, 25 will be representatives of towns and communities, 25 will be provided by social organisations and 25 will be citizens from around the world.

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diumenge, 11 de novembre de 2018

Hundreds in Galicia march for the return of a manor house which was taken owner by Dictator's Franco family

The march was supported by thirty groups as the Galician Nationalist Block and dennounced that nineteen Galician young people are tried by Spanish courts for a protest. As they displayed some banners in the manor house Spanish prosecutor is asking for 250 years of prison. The so called Pazo de Meirás is a building which dates from the end of the 19th century, with the first stone placed in 1893. Known originally as the Torres de Meirás, it was built on the ruins of an old military fortification, Franco Dictatorship took over the building to be used as a summer residence for the criminal and it became the personal property of Franco. Arrangements have been made last year for the public to visit the building on a limited basis. In 2017 it was proposed that the tours should be given by the Fascist Francisco Franco Foundation who is legal in the Spanish Kingdom.

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dissabte, 10 de novembre de 2018

Massive Rally in Northern Catalonia, Under French Administration: 'We are Northern Catalonia, We do Catalan Countries'

The Day of Northern Catalonia has been commemorated today with a massive rally in Perpignan. More than 10,000 people marched under the slogan "Sem Catalunya Nord, fem Països Catalans" (We are Northern Catalonia, We do Catalan Countries' and three days after the date of the Treaty of the Pyrenees (November 7, 1659) was remembered, the mobilization has filled the center of the town from Riosellonesa from Plaça Catalunya to the Castellet, where a political act has taken place. A concert close the events.

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divendres, 9 de novembre de 2018

Mr Anwar: "9 out of 11 Presidents jailed, exiled or executed...history shows that justice does not apply to the Catalans"

"When 9 out of 11 Presidents were jailed, exiled or executed, history shows that justice does not apply to the Catalans, but they must now change the course of history". Aamer Anwar was clear in Catalan Television last November 3rd. Anwar is Clara Ponsatí (former Catalan Minister exiled in Scotland) lawyer. He is the Rector of Glasgow University, Lawyer if year 2017 ans solicitor if year 2016 -criminal defence.

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dijous, 8 de novembre de 2018

Spanish supremacist arrested in Catalonia with 16 firearms, including high-precision rifles and assault weapons

Catalan police seized 16 firearms, including high-precision rifles and assault weapons, from his flat in Terrassa, Catalonia. The Catalan police arrested Manuel Murillo from the Catalan town of Terrassa on September 19th. The suspect, an expert shooter who owned at least 16 firearms, including high-precision rifles and assault weapons, aged 63, the man is currently in the Brians 2 prison. A court in Terrassa is handling the case, as Spain’s National Court refused to take it over alleging that it did not pose a terrorist threat.

The Spanish supremacist Manuel Murillo is the son of former unionist mayor in Rubí. In spite of his arsenal he Spanish high court has ruled “he is not a terrorist”, as usual
According to Público, the man practiced Olympic shooting and worked as a security guard. He had arms license and had the ability to build and modify both handguns and rifles.

He did not have any criminal record but is linked to a Spanish supremacist party. While he reportedly used to move in far-right circles, he was not an active member of any organization. He said he was willing to "sacrifice himself for Spain". 

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dimarts, 6 de novembre de 2018

European Court of Human Rights condemns Spain, unanimously, for lack of impartiality at trial of Basque politicians

Applicants in trial related to banned group ETA had justified fears about judges’ lack of impartiality at trial. In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Otegi Mondragon v. Spain (application no. 4184/15) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It also held, by six votes to one, that the finding of a violation alone was sufficient just satisfaction in
the case.
The case concerned the applicants’ complaint of bias on the part of judges who convicted them for
being members of the ETA organisation. The Court found in particular that the first applicant in the case had previously won an appeal
against a conviction on different ETA-related charges because the presiding judge had shown a lack
of impartiality, which had contaminated the whole panel in that case and had led to a retrial.
The same panel, including the judge who had presided in the earlier trial, had convicted all five
applicants in a second set of proceedings on different charges a year later. The applicants had thus
had objectively justified fears that these judges lacked impartiality in their case.

Link to the ECHR note

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diumenge, 4 de novembre de 2018

Germany reminds all European countries of the need to respect human rights

The German government has issued a press release in which it reminds all European countries of the need to respect human rights, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the creation of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). It has not gone unnoticed in some political circles that the publication on Friday coincided with the Spanish prosecutors' release of its indictments for the Catalan political prisoners.​

After giving a brief review of the origin of the ECHR, the press statement affirms that respect for human rights by European states "cannot be à la carte". "Any country that wants to belong to the European community of values has to behave accordingly", it adds. This idea is related to the fact that, as the press note says, "for some countries the jurisdiction of Strasburg goes too far and is considered an interference". Germany does not accept this attitude, it says.
The German government thus urges the "47 member states of the Council of Europeto to comply with their duties, just as they share in the rights of belonging". Furthermore, the statement says that its message is "applicable to Turkey, Russia and Azerbaijan", due to the special concern that they "cause us because of their human rights situations". It adds that "access without restriction" to the ECHR must be ensured for people in all countries where its jurisdiction applies.
Finally, the German press statement says that the country "will continue working with our European partners to guarantee that the 47 states continue to support the European Court of Human Rights and respect its jurisprudence, in the interests of 820 million "Europeans".
The statement is signed by Germany's foreign minister Heiko Maas and justice minister Katarina Barley.

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dissabte, 3 de novembre de 2018

Spain’s public prosecutor has called for 200 years in jail for Catalan politicians for a Democratic Referendum

Spain’s public prosecutor has called for 25 years in jail for Catalan politicians on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds. Disappointing given they are peaceful people exercising their democratic rights in a Democratic Referendum. The prison sentences proposed by the Spanish Prosecutor in the case of the Catalan political prisoners shows how profoundlyunhinged the swivel-eyed hawks in the Spanish State have become on this issue. 25 years for Oriol Junqueras and 17 years for the peaceful grassroots activists Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez.

The prosecutor recommended sentences of up to 17 years on rebellion and misuse of funds charges for the other eight jailed Catalan politicians as the Ministers Josep Rull and Jordi Turull, and is seeking charges of seven years for nine others accused of involvement in the campaign who are not in custody.The leaders’ defense team must present its case in the next few weeks and the trial is expected to begin in January.The prosecutor is also seeking up to 11 years in prison for four others, including the head of the Catalan police at the time of the independence declaration, in a separate High Court case.

The sensitive trial is expected to start in early 2019 -- more than a year after Catalan leaders attempted to break from Spain in October 2017 by staging a referendum despite a court ban and subsequently proclaiming independence. According to Spanish law, rebellion is "rising up in a violent and public manner," to among other things "breach, suspend or change the constitution" or "declare independence for part of the (Spanish) territory" but Spain could nout find violence by the Catalan part in any case.

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divendres, 2 de novembre de 2018

Jan Peumans, Flemish Parliament speaker: "This situation is unacceptable in 21st century Europe"

His comments led to the Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, revoking the diplomatic status of the Flemish government's delegate to Madrid. Spain, he said, "is incapable of meeting the conditions to form part of a democratic Europe" because it has "political prisoners". Now, far from retracting his remarks, Jan Peumans (Maastricht, 1951), speaker of the Flemish Parliament, doubles down in this interview with El Nacional: "This situation is unacceptable in 21st century Europe". Peumans has received the support of his legislative chamber, from both right and left, whilst the Flemish minister-president, Geert Bourgeois, described the Spanish measure as "disproportionate".

What do you think of the reaction from the Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, to your words, by expelling the representative of Flanders from the diplomatic corps?
It's a joke. Europe's never seen that before... An MP is free to say whatever they want. It's our right, it's in the constitution. We can express our opinion on the prisoners. Minister Borrell has taken draconian, excessive steps. Never has a government taken measures against a member of a Parliament. It's really extraordinary. Now he's said that relations between Spain and Flanders, in diplomatic terms, are over. It's ridiculous. We said it yesterday in our Parliament too. All the parties, the six parties, gave me support as speaker. They said that any MP is free to say whatever they want to say.

Do you stand by your words?
For a politician in democratic Europe to be put in prison is not normal. It's something which I cannot understand in the year 2018. Be it [former speaker of the Catalan Parliament Carme] Forcadell or any political leader in prison, I cannot understand it. As such, I stand by what I said.
What should Belgium's reaction be to this question?
The Belgian foreign minister [Didier Reynders], who is a liberal francophone, has said that it's not his issue if there's a conflict between Flanders and Spain. Nonetheless, the president of Flanders, Geert Bourgeois, will give Reynders a letter, which he will deliver to the Spanish government through the Belgian embassy.
And from Flanders, what measures have you taken?
Our Parliament has passed a bill which says three things. Firstly, that we're opposed to the police violence of the [day of the referendum] 1st October last year. Secondly, that dialogue is needed between the Spanish government and the Catalan government and institutions. Thirdly, we ask the European Union to act as a mediator in the conflict that still exists in your country. The bill was passed unanimously.

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dijous, 1 de novembre de 2018

Catalan innocent people in prison in pre-trial detention is a failure of the Spanish system

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dimecres, 31 d’octubre de 2018

The Council for the Republic launched in the government headquarters, in Barcelona

An organization led by exiled leaders called Council for the Republic was one of the three pillars announced by the Catalan president, Quim Torra, right after being elected in May, in order to build an independent Catalonia – with the other two being the current institutions such as the government and Parliament, and the third being citizens.

On October 30th  the council was established, at an event held in the government headquarters, in Barcelona. The Council for the Republic aims to act as a “lever” towards independence in Catalonia, explained Torra. Meanwhile, vice president Pere Aragonès stressed that the Council for the Republic will also be a “free space” to defend self-determination and the internationalization of the “cause of freedom.”

Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín; President and Minister in Exile, also spoke via video from Brussels. Indeed, they will be the leaders of this organization, which was kicked off at an event attended also by parliament speaker Roger Torrent, Catalan government ministers, MPs from pro-independence parties and officials from grassroot groups.

The Council for the Republic was expected to be settled earlier, but with Puigdemont in Germany with an extradition case pending when Torra was sworn in, it was delayed until now. The Catalan government made clear on Tuesday afternoon that the group is private and will have no public funding, although it will “interact” with the executive.

The cabinet spokesperson, Elsa Artadi, said that the council should aim to “bring together the independence movement.” Artadi also amended Torra’s three-pillar structure mentioned in May to add a new one: the “political prisoners.”

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dimarts, 30 d’octubre de 2018

Puigdemont to the Northern Catalonia Solidarity Day "being part of the same nation we belong to the same space for the future"

The Northern Catalonia Solidarity Day that takes place today in Perpignan (Catalonia under French administration) began this morning with an intervention by the Catalan Solidarity Committee (Comitè de Solidaritat Catalana), the organizer of the events.

According to Radio Arrels de Perpinyà (Catalan language radio in Northern Catalonia), in a video of greetings, President Carles Puigdemont thanked Northern Catalonia for having been present in the uncertain and difficult moments that have been experienced in recent times. Puigdemont recalls that the Catalan independence process needs the North Catalans, because besides "being part of the same nation", "we belong to the same space for the future". To finish the president, he expressed the desire to be able to thank somebody personally to all the people who accompany the process from the North of Catalonia. Catalan dances and music are being played in the Castillet (Small Castle) and the Puigdemont sister as well as Jordi Sànchez partner also thanked personally the Solidarity from the North. The Catalan National Asembly, with a northern branch too, announced that the next meeting of its direction will be in Perpinyà/Perpignan next November 10th.

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One year of imprisonment for Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart: 1 year of injustice

On 16th October, one year passed since Jordi Sànchez, then President of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) and Jordi Cuixart, President of Òmnium Cultural (ÒC), have been in preventive detention, accused of rebellion and sedition for having defended freedom and democracy and having exercised such fundamental rights as that of nonviolent protest.
Sànchez and Cuixart are currently immersed in a lawsuit tainted from the very outset by countless irregularities. Indeed, preventive detention itself, applied in this case with the clear intention of instilling fear into the citizenry, is an anomaly since it may normally be used only as a last resort. And yet they have now been in prison for one year, first at Soto del Real penitentiary, in Madrid, and since last July at Lledoners prison, near Barcelona.
Indeed, yesterday Amnesty International issued a statement calling for the “immediate” release of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, adding that their preventive detention was “unjustifiable” since both enjoyed the right to “organise and foster peaceful gatherings in support of the referendum and the independence of Catalonia”.
A set of false accusations
The lawsuit is based on invented, non-existent acts of violence attributed to Sànchez and Cuixart when, on 20 September 2017, Spanish forces of law and order ransacked the Department of Economy and other departments of the Generalitat. Thousands of demonstrators peacefully rallied there throughout the entire day to protest.
Despite this attitude of nonviolence on the part of demonstrators, the State has generated an invented account of events, the falseness of which is readily observable in videos, photographs and eye-witness accounts which have been brought together in a number of documentaries which show that the two civil leaders even negotiated with the Civil Guard to enable the searchers to leave the building without incident.
Even so, the investigation takes this false account as its basis, thereby judicialising what is a political issue and making it clear that there is no separation of powers in Spain, which casts serious doubts on the quality of Spanish democracy and marks the re-emergence of the concept of political prisoners in 21st-century Europe.

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