The Ongoing Problems in Catalonia
atalonia, which includes Barcelona, is one of the public funds and disobedience of legal rulings, with autonomous communities in Spain which to a a prison term of 7 years.The ones who had been certain extent govern their own affairs. charged with the serious offences were refused bail as they were considered a flight risk. In September 2017, political leaders in Catalonia announced that a referendum would be held on October 1st to determine if they should completely split off from Spain. This would be the same as Scotland deciding to be independent, but in Scotland the process would be complicated but possible. In Catalonia it would be extremely complicated and fraught with difficulties, and Spain would never agree to this. The highly flawed referendum took place on October 1st despite being ruled illegal, and after a lot of dithering a document was signed on October 27th proclaiming that Catalonia was going for independence. Central government had repeatedly pointed out that if this happened they would invoke article 155 of the written Spanish constitution that allowed the Spanish state to take over an autonomous community in exceptional circumstances. This was done the same day, parliament was dissolved, and new elections for MPs in Catalonia set for December 22nd. As soon as the declaration of independence was signed, legal action started against senior politicians and the ex-president Carles Puigdemont fled to Brussels along with four other former MPs. The exvice president Oriol Junqueras stayed in Spain and with eleven other people accused of various offences he was summoned to appear in court in Madrid after being arrested. Some of the twelve people told the court that the declaration of independence was only symbolic and three of them were released on bail. There were charges laid against the remaining nine that they were guilty of rebellion, a criminal offence prosecuted by the ‘fiscalía (the Spanish Crown Prosecution Service) and also sedition (treason) prosecuted by the official lawyer for the Spanish State. The prison terms requested for rebellion were 25 years in the case of Oriol Junqueras coming down to 16 years for the others. Requested prison terms for sedition were 12 years down to 8 years, and the three others were accused of misappropriation of
The major trial, which was televised daily, started last March and drew to a close in mid-June. There had been 52 court sessions, 422 witnesses, and days of videos taken by the police and other people, and the court judgements will be made known in the autumn. In the elections in December 2017, Carles Puigdemont was elected as an MP with proposals that he be made “President in exile”. Legal opinion was that a President had to appear in parliament to accept office, and that wasn’t going to happen as he would have been arrested. Eventually another politician with no criminal charges against him became President. In the European Elections last May 26th Oriol Junqueras stood as a Euro MP, and after a lot of wrangling Carles Puigdemont and another ex-MP, Toni Comín, who also fled to Brussels. All three were elected, and Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín tried to register themselves in the European Parliament. They were turned away as Spain had told the EU that the full list of 54 Euro MPs had not been fixed. It was ruled that all elected Euro MPs had to appear in the Spanish Parliament on June 17th to be sworn in. The two from Brussels didn’t appear and Oriol Junqueras was denied permission to leave prison and go to Parliament. This is an ongoing saga!
The Almeria Focus is a local directory and magazine distributed monthly in the Almeria province of southeast Spain.