The prosecutor chooses revenge over the truth

Spanish public prosecutor has woven a narrative that bears little resemblance with October 2017

Public prosecutor Javier Zaragoza has already shown in his opening address that any dream of a hypothetical toned-down approach as a "gesture" to the independence movement is far-fetched. If this was not already clear from the indictment, now, given the fall of the pro-sovereignty parties as backers of the dying Pedro Sánchez government and having heard Zaragoza's speech at the beginning of the trial, it is difficult to imagine that we will see a U-turn in his conclusions.

Already in the preliminary matters, without getting into the nuts and bolts of the case, Zaragoza has laid out a fallacious story with merely a casual connection with what actually happened in October. Namely: that this is a movement based on violence, a point that he didn't even bother to argue. That there were only two people "seriously" injured on October 1st, one less than the number which the Spanish government recognizes: here the key is the adjective, the fact that Zaragoza (whose résumé shows no medical training) is able to discern which of the 1,000 people who needed medical attention, as accredited by doctors in Catalonia, presented serious injuries. To complete his picture of the events on October 1st, the prosecutor stressed that violence was not caused by the police operation, but by the voters, an assertion that does not hold up for three seconds in light of the footage from the day of the referendum.

The fact that the Catalan leaders' pre-trial detention is an ideological punishment was put down in writing by Justice Llarena himself

The defense of the case’s instruction phase by examining magistrate Pablo Llarena also required some distortion of the Supreme Court judge's written findings. Zaragoza denied that Catalan leaders have been held behind bars because of their political views. The idea that the case is built on facts (beyond their criminal classification) and not on thoughts is arguable from the point of view of the prosecution, but the fact that their pre-trial detention is an ideological punishment was put down in writing by Justice Llarena in an answer to Jordi Sànchez's motion to be released: "He maintains his pro-sovereignty ideology. It is constitutionally valid, but it makes it impossible to believe in the impossibility of criminal recidivism that one would have from someone who held the opposite political views." In other words, Sànchez is not to be trusted because he supports Catalan independence. On the partiality of Llarena, Zaragoza did not bother to create an alternative reality. Given the evidence that Llarena described himself as "affected" by the pro-sovereignty strategy and had praised the application of Article 155 [direct rule from Madrid}, the prosecutor used the most basic political excuse: “His words were taken out of context."

The ruling on the Catalan independence bid will not be measured by the truth of the facts described, because that would mean taking apart the case from the very beginning. It will be defined by the balance between the court's desire for revenge and the fear that the European Court of Human Rights will issue a powerful reversal that questions the entire Spanish judicial system. The prosecutor has already chosen: before the truth, revenge.

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