The president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, made a statement today after being notified that the High Court of Justice of Catalonia had convicted him of disobedience following his 18 November trial for not removing a banner expressing support for Catalan political prisoners and exiles from the Palau de la Generalitat (the government headquarters).
The head of the executive said: “A court made up of three individuals – devoid of any semblance of impartiality, in legal proceedings plagued with irregularities, spurred on by a prosecutor who has become an advocate for the interests of the Spanish government – is seeking to change a president chosen by the representatives of millions of Catalans.” The president also insisted that the ruling against him would be a judgement on the Spanish judicial system itself.
The head of the executive said the court ruling “violates fundamental rights” and that his defence team would lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court against a ruling that he characterised as “highly political, aimed solely at banning me from public office and interfering in the political situation in Catalonia. This justice isn’t blind or impartial; it’s partisan and completely unfair.” Torra argued that “the level of jurisdiction where rights are safeguarded – in European courts – needs to take a position before irreparable damage is done that would affect the right of defence of millions of European citizens”.
The president also said he had asked the parliamentary groups “that offered me their support, and any that want to take a stand against repression and the use of the justice system for political ends, to express this position in a vote in Parliament”. He warned: “What needs to be made absolutely clear is that it’s not the courts – in irregular, politicised proceedings, with rulings drafted before trials even start – that decide who will be the president of Catalonia.”
Torra also welcomed today’s ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union and demanded that “the Supreme Court trial be declared a mistrial, that the political prisoners be immediately released, that the exiles be free to return home, and that the politically motivated legal proceedings against supporters of independence be terminated”. The president also called on the Spanish state to “acknowledge its mistakes” and “the violations of human rights it has committed”. “It also needs to take urgent steps to remedy the current situation and seek a democratic solution that includes the exercise of Catalonia’s right to self-determination.”