Spain has always refused to negotiate with the Catalans over a referendum on self-determination. And, when in 2017 this peaceful social movement self-organised a referendum, the Spanish state again denied the political debate and criminalised the movement through the corrupt rogue judiciary.
Spain wanted to defeat Catalan independence at any cost, and gave the judges a free hand: they imprisoned politicians and activists, dismissed two presidents of the Catalan government, prevented the investiture of the most voted politician, banned parliamentary debates and political initiatives, have covered up illegal spying with Pegasus and are legally persecuting 3,600 activists. As the EU has not questioned Spain, when the EU criticises the Chinese, Turkish and Russian governments for not respecting human rights, they respond by acting as Spain does with the Catalans.
And now this judicial interference is beginning to spill over to the Madrid government itself. The judiciary’s leadership has been out of date for four years, and as judges are chosen by the parties, they have political colour. Now the PP (right-wing) has a majority in the judicial bodies and that is why it is blocking their renewal in order not to lose that majority.
After four years, the PSOE-Podemos (centre-left) government has wanted to modify the law on the appointment of judges to overcome the blockage, but at the request of the PP the Constitutional Court (which also has two lapsed members!) has prohibited the Senate vote that was supposed to approve the reform. The whole country has been shocked to see how the judiciary has violated the separation of powers as if it were the most normal thing in the world.
Moreover, in order to create tension, the opposition says that the government wants to renovate the judicial bodies in order to modify the penal code and thus favour the Catalan independence supporters. Nothing could be further from the truth!
The government wants to repeal the crime of sedition under which the activists were convicted in 2017 (a crime that the Council of Europe had called for the elimination of) and replace it with the crime of aggravated disorder (an ambiguous crime that judges can apply as they wish).
The pro-independence movement has denounced that this new offence would allow aberrations such as preventing the right to demonstrate and continuing the judicial war against pro-independence but in a more disguised way.
We Catalans have already warned that, if such violations by Spain were not prevented, it would end up having repercussions beyond Catalonia. Until now, Europe has been permissive with Spain, thinking it meets minimum democratic standards and looking the other way whenever Madrid has transgressed the rules in an attempt to destroy the Catalan national minority.
If anything, far from succeeding, it has further strengthened Catalonia’s determination for independence. We shall see how far this anti-democratic decomposition, which is already affecting the very stability of the Spanish state, will go.