«Proportionality in the Catalonia conflict» — German Bundestag to debate Catalonia
May 18, 2019 —
The German Bundestag has received a motion from the parliamentary group Die Linke to uphold democracy and the rule of law in the Catalan conflict. The text of the request is quoted below:
«German Bundestag printed matter 19/9055
19th term 04.04.2019
of the deputies Zaklin Nastic, Andrej Hunko, Heike Hänsel, Dr. Diether Dehm, Sylvia Gabelmann, Michel Brandt, Christine Buchholz, Sevim Dağdelen, Matthias Höhn, Stefan Liebich, Dr. Alexander S. Neu, Thomas Nord, Tobias Pflüger, Eva-Maria Schreiber, Helin Evrim Sommer, Alexander Ulrich, Kathrin Vogler and the parliamentary group DIE LINKE.
Preserving democracy and the rule of law in the Catalan conflict
The Bundestag wants to decide:
I. The German Bundestag states:
On 12 February 2019, the trial of twelve leaders of the Catalan independence movement, including former members of the Catalan regional government, the former President of Parliament and two representatives of civil society, began in Madrid before the Spanish Supreme Court. They are accused of «rebellion», «revolt against public order», misappropriation of public funds and disobedience. Applications must be submitted for between 16 and 25 years in prison. The extreme right-wing party VOX, admitted as a joint plaintiff, even demands up to 74 years.
The accusations all relate to the holding of an independence referendum on 1 October 2017, previously banned by the Spanish Constitutional Court. In particular, the accusation of rebellion, which, according to Article 472 of the Spanish Penal Code, presupposes a «violent and public uprising» that has not taken place, demonstrates the political nature of the trial. The Higher Regional Court of Schleswig-Holstein [Germany] has also ruled in its ruling on the extradition of Carles Puigdemont to Spain that the accusations of rebellion and insurrection are inadmissible. Puigdemont and other Catalan politicians were not extradited from Belgium either.
The fact that some of the defendants have been in pre-trial detention for more than a year has aroused much criticism, as has the exclusion of the public from the trial. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has in the past repeatedly condemned Spain for lack of investigation into allegations of torture and most recently for proven ill-treatment. In November 2018, the ECHR ruled that the trial of Basque politician Arnaldo Otegi violated the right to a fair trial. The UN Human Rights Council has also accused Spain of lacking respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Against this background, a constitutional implementation of the process is not guaranteed.
II The German Bundestag calls on the Federal Government of Germany,
1. publicly insist that the trial of the leaders of the Catalan independence movement respect the standards of the rule of law and the fundamental rights of those affected;
2. to speak out publicly in favour of the admission of international observers to the process;
3. to work for a democratic solution to the Catalan question, negotiated by mutual agreement between the two sides and in conformity with international law;
4. to exclude any participation in the political persecution of representatives of the Catalan independence movement;
5. to promote in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe initiatives aimed at a peaceful and democratic solution to the conflict;
6. to offer asylum in Germany to all those politically persecuted for «rebellion» or «riot» who wish to do so.
Berlin, 2 April 2019
Dr. Sahra Wagenknecht, Dr. Dietmar Bartsch and the parliamentary group [Die Linke]».
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