Spain’s Constitutional Court has agreed to examine the appeal filed by the Catalan political prisoners against their conviction in the case of the 2017 failed independence bid. This is a necessary step before the Catalan leaders are allowed to take their case up with the European Court of Human Rights in the hope that justice will eventually be served. Unfortunately.
The list of rights that were trampled on during the trial is long: due process, language rights, the right to a proper defence … and with a presiding judge who was willing to listen to the identical statements of the prosecution’s witnesses, who spoke of nasty, hateful looks [which the Spanish police allegedly got from Catalan voters on the day of the independence referendum], whilst leaving for last the video footage [which the defence teams sought to use as exculpatory evidence]. And the court did all that “with the utmost pleasure” (1).
The Constitutional Court, which played a key role in the Spanish state’s efforts against the 2017 referendum, is unlikely to contradict the political doctrine espoused by Spain’s Supreme Court: the rule of law rests on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation. Therefore, the Constitutional Court will go ahead and uphold the ruling that invented the crime of unarmed sedition without a popular uprising.
(1) During the trial Supreme Court Justice Marchena kept using the overly-polite Spanish phrase “con sumo agrado” (“with the utmost pleasure”) when taking requests in court from the defence lawyers, perhaps in an attempt to seem cordial and sympathetic. Ultimately, the harsh prison sentences imposed on the defendants showed Marchena’s was an iron fist in a velvet glove.