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Closing remarks by MEP Dr. Oriol Junqueras in the political show trial on Madrid

Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger

Jul 16, 2019 — 

Closing remarks by MEP Dr. Oriol Junqueras in the political show trial on Madrid on 12 June 2019

The legitimate Vice-President of Catalonia, Dr. Oriol Junqueras, is a world-renowned political prisoner in the European Union.

According to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the detention of Dr. Oriol Junqueras is arbitrary. The criminal proceedings against him, which are conducted in the first and only (!) instance before the Supreme Court in Madrid, have no basis. It violates mandatory international law (ius cogens), European law and Spanish law. In the middle of Europe, a peace-loving and peaceful politician who enjoys immunity as an elected member of the European Parliament is deprived of his civil rights in a way that clearly recalls the injustice of German National Socialism and Spanish Francoism.

According to the competent body of the United Nations, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention established by the Human Rights Council, Spain is, in the case of Dr. Oriol Junqueras, in violation of Articles 2, 9 to 11 and 18 to 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 3, 14, 19, 21, 22 and 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Dr. Oriol Junqueras is being detained in Spain for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of opinion, expression, association, assembly and political participation. His imprisonment violates the principle of the equality of all human beings because it was justified by his political opinion. The criminal proceedings brought against him do not even provide the basic guarantees for a proper and fair trial before a competent and impartial court and for an adequate defence. The trial against him, a cheap farce, is a disgrace to Spain and to the European Union as a whole, which tacitly tolerates these serious violations of Human Rights.

As for every human being, Dr. Oriol Junqueras is presumed innocent as long as he has not been convicted. He stood for election to the European Parliament in 2019 and was elected a Member of the European Parliament. His choice was published in the Boletín Oficial de Estado of Spain. He is thus an elected Member of the European Parliament. He asked to be allowed, in due time, to take an oath on the Spanish constitution demanded by Spain. Spain, however, prohibited him from doing so and kept him in custody, so that he was not allowed to take the required oath. Spain now unlawfully takes the view to the European Union that Dr Oriol Junqueras is not a Member of the European Parliament because he has not taken the required oath to the Spanish Constitution. What a shame for Spain!

The European Parliament therefore met in its opening session without Dr Oriol Junqueras — and also without the two MEPs Carles Puigdemont and Antoni Comín, whose notarised oaths to the Spanish Constitution were not accepted by Spain. More than two million EU citizens were deprived of their elected representatives at the opening session of the European Parliament and were not represented by their MEPs. If the law remains in force, the European Court of Justice will have to declare null and void all decisions and votes of this and subsequent sessions of the European Parliament from which the three elected Catalan Members were excluded.

A European Union which so easily and ruthlessly overlooks the fundamental principles of democracy and turns a blind eye to the way in which Human Rights are trampled underfoot in Spain and in which criminal proceedings are conducted in contempt of the rule of law is permanently forfeiting its right to exist. Just as history proved Socrates and not his judges right, history will once prove Dr. Oriol Junqueras and the other political prisoners from Catalonia right. Everyone may decide for himself on which side of history he wants to stand, and choose between right and wrong. No citizen of the European Union should be indifferent to the fact that an elected Member of the European Parliament is prevented from exercising his mandate illegally and in breach of Human Rights! A European Union that silently tolerates such injustice cannot have a future in the long term!

May all men of good will hear the closing words of Dr. Oriol Junqueras!

Closing remarks by Dr. Oriol Junqueras before the Supreme Court in Madrid on 12 June 2019:

«The court now gives me the floor again for the second and last time in this trial. And if there is one thing I should thank the court for, it is precisely the fact that it gave me a voice after so much time deprived of it. Speaking and listening is the basis of any understanding. If you will allow me a personal anecdote, at the Italian Lyceum, where I was studying, my classmates and I, like all Italian students, learned practically by heart the first sonnet of Petrarch's Canzoniere whose first verses say more or less like this: «To you who listen in scattered rhymes to the sound of my words.»

That is the first time that a known author addresses himself in vulgar language directly to his readers and to those who will listen to the reading of his poems. It is a direct appeal that arises from the awareness that it would be of little use to speak or write if no one listened or read. With this same spirit, with these last words, I try to address all of you and all those who want to listen.

I am fundamentally a family man and a teacher. My dedication to politics has been late and has been born, as my teaching vocation, from the will to serve, from the will to be useful, from the will to try to build a fairer world, freer, a better world. It is difficult to be precise when we acquire our political convictions in a fully conscious manner. In this case, my democratic, civic, peaceful and republican convictions. Or even my Christian convictions. But they are convictions I have and maintain. And that I share with all those who believe that voting or defending the republic from a Parliament cannot constitute a crime. The desire for dialogue, negotiation and agreement, based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, should never be a crime.

All my books, articles, speeches, actions, demonstrate the unwavering commitment to goodness and respect for human dignity. All those who know me, including, of course, the accusations present at this trial are surely perfectly aware of it. Any politician, like any person, makes mistakes. But I have always avoided that policy, that bad policy that denies dialogue, negotiation and agreement. And that, I understand, has transferred to you the responsibility of passing sentence.

I sincerely believe that the best thing for everyone, for Catalonia, for Spain, for Europe, for everyone, would be to return the issue to the field of politics, of good politics, where it should never have come from, to return the issue to the field of dialogue, negotiation and agreement.

In the meantime, my job must always be to contribute, also through the judgment of the ballot box, to promoting democracy, coexistence and the common good.

Thank you very much for your attention.»

The translation is based on a transcription that was kindly provided by the journal L'Unilateral — El digital de la República Catalana.

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