Barcelona (CNA).- The former Catalan Minister and Catalan Democratic Party (PDC) spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, testified on Monday in the Spanish Supreme Court in relation to the symbolic independence vote that took place on the 9th of November 2014. In his statement the politician followed three argumentative lines. Firstly, the legality of the Catalan process and the consultation, according to the Catalan Parliament mandate. Secondly, the feeling, or even “the confirmation”, that the main institutions of the Spanish State have acted in “an arbitrary and partial manner”, copycatting People’s Party (PP) interests. Finally, the evidence that this is a “political” case and not a judicial one. “We have the feeling that the sentence has already been dictated, even before listening to the parties involved”, the former Minister stressed.
In a press conference after his statement, Homs said that the Catalan Government acted following “the Catalan Parliament mandate and within a legal framework”. The aim, the added, was to protect “citizen’s fundamental rights” to have their say on a political issue. The PDC spokesman in Madrid defended before the Supreme Court the “legality” of the consultation and claimed that the current Catalan Ggovernment would today act in the same way as it did in 2014.
Besides to this, the former Catalan Minister also stressed that the Spanish public prosecutor’s office is “copycatting PP interests”,. highlighting He stressed that this is proven byin the several tapes in whichwhere the Spanish Minister for Home Affairs, Jorge Fernández Díaz, and former Director of Catalonia’s Anti-fraud Office, Daniel De Alfonso, appear plotting to discredit Catalonia’s main pro-independence parties. The scandal emerged last June, after the Spanish newspaper ‘Público’ published the recorded conversations.
The former Catalan Minister also stated that theis trial was a “political process and not a judicial one”. Therefore he feels that his “sentence has been already been dictated” and that it is going to be “condemnatory and not absolving”. The PDC spokesman claimed that he is not going to “politically” accept the sentence dictated by the Court because it will not have “the guarantees it should” have.
Homs is charged withon disobedience, misappropriation of public funds and perversion of justice. Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, who has been summonsed for the same case together with Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, backed Homs prior to his statement. Other Catalan Ministers such as Santi Vila, Meritxell Borràs, Meritxell Serret and Neus Munté, and the left-wing pro-independence party ERC spokesperson in the Spanish Government, Joan Tardà, were also present in front of the entrance to the Supreme Court.
“What is at stake is democracy itself”, says Artur Mas
“Independence, which is going to be resolved in a definitive consultation, isn’t the only thing at stake here”, claimed Artur Mas. “What is at stake is democracy itself and the democratic quality of a state that turns to the public prosecutor’s office and courts, instead of doing what it should do with a democratic government: sit at the table, talk civilly and achieve agreements if possible”. “The current government has let many Catalan down. It still has time to rectify [this], but I’m afraid that its pride is not letting them do so”, he added with regret.
“A day of shame”
The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, stated that Homs had to testify in the Supreme Court “for listening to people’s demands and for putting out ballot boxes” and recalled that just two years ago Scotland was allowed to vote in a referendum agreed with the British Government. Puigdemont warned that if the Ccourt decides to condemn Homs and Mas everyone in Catalonia “will feel convicted”. “We are living a day of shame”, he said.
The Basque Nationalist Party backed Homs prior to his statement
Spokesperson for the Basque Nationalist Party (PNB), Aitor Esteban, stated that the presence of PNB at the Supreme Court “is obliged because consulting people can never be a crime in a democracy”. “Even less so when the consultation was not binding”, he said in relation to the 9-N participatory process.
Esteban regretted that the Spanish judicial authorities persecute democratic political acts such as the 9-N vote. “In Catalonia there is a political problem that must be tackled from the political dialogue rather than legal channels” he stated, while stressing that courts “may impose very strong sentences, but will not solve the underlying problem at all”.
“Ballot boxes are never the problem”
The Catalan Government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, wanted to express her full support for Francesc Homs and also accompanied him to the entrance of the Supreme Court. Munté urged “all democrats” to defend the symbolic vote and stated that “ballot boxes are never the problem, but are always the solution”.
“It is very serious in terms of democratic quality that ballot boxes are persecuted, that ballot boxes and people who have contributed to strengthening the democracy and to giving a voice to the citizens are charged”, Munté said. The Minister insisted that the Spanish Government’s democracy is “below the minimum” because it “persecutes ballot boxes and democrats”.