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‟Even through thousands of repetitions a lie does not become the truth!” — Raül Romeva

Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger

Jul 22, 2019 — 

‟Even through a thousand repetitions, a lie does not become the truth!” — closing remarks of the legitimate Minister for Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency of the Catalan Government, Raül Romeva, in the political show trial at Madrid on 12 June 2019

The legitimate Minister for Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency of the Government of Catalonia, Raül Romeva, was declared deposed by Spain on 28 October 2017 in violation of the organic law of the Spanish State — without sufficient legal basis in the Spanish Constitution — and subsequently imprisoned by the Spanish judiciary in recognisable collusive cooperation with the Spanish Government since November 2017, without there being any recognisable basis for this in Spanish criminal law. He is a prominent political prisoner in Spain and thus also in the European Union, whose fate is being followed with compassion throughout the world.

According to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the detention of Raül Romeva 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. The way Spain deprives Raül Romeva of his civil rights clearly recalls the injustice of German National Socialism and Spanish Francoism.

According to the United Nations' competent body, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, set up by the Human Rights Council, Spain is, in the case of Raül Romeva, in violation of Articles 2, 9 to 11 and 18 to 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 2, 14, 19, 21, 22, 25 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Raül Romeva 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.

May all people of good will hear the last words of Raül Romeva in the Madrid show trial!

And Europe remains silent and only watching!

Concluding remarks by Raül Romeva before the Supreme Court in Madrid on 12 June 2019:

«First of all I should like, of course, to add my voice to those of all the defence lawyers, in particular my lawyer, Mr Andreu Van den Eynde, and the words of my companion, colleague and friend, Oriol Junqueras, which we have just heard.

I would like to take this opportunity, once again, to reiterate the expectations we have after a long, sometimes lengthy process, that the Court will be able to investigate the facts presented, without paying attention to the exaggerations and distortions which, I have to say, have been made by the plaintiffs. And I want to say it frankly and freely: the plaintiffs have sought throughout the trial to severely punish and scourge a worldview. And that worries me personally, it worries me in general in Catalonia, but it worries me much more because of what we have seen on numerous occasions. Both the insinuations and the considerations, such as the interrogations, were made from an ideological background, a secret complete distortion that came to bear in some final reports, in which adjectives are used that pretend to draw a reality that never existed. Even through a thousand repetitions a lie does not become the truth!

In particular, because it is so painful, I would like to refer to the use and abuse, to the instrumentalisation of the concept of 'hatred'. The plaintiffs have tried to construct a mental framework based on the existence of irrational hatred against Spain, against everything Spanish and against the State. In my view, however, as we have shown and argued, this is not only deceptive, but also irresponsible. It is deceptive because they could not produce a single proof, not a single one, to show such 'hatred' on the part of those we are in the dock here, none, zero. If they ever listened, if they wanted to make the effort to empathize with the two million people who have been demonstrating civilized, peaceful and democratic for years and expressing their legitimate desire to become part of a Catalan republic, if they read the thousands of letters they send us all the time and which we read in the solitude of our cells, they would undoubtedly see that it is not hatred that moves all these people, not at all!

But it is also irresponsible, it is irresponsible because hatred has never built anything up, it has never solved anything, it only generates more hatred and serves only to feed those who live exactly from this hatred. I will therefore repeat once again — the defence has said it, we have said it, and we have explained it in a thousand ways — what moves thousands of people today and every day more and more — as you know, I am sure, from soundings and opinion polls — is no more and no less than the frustration, such as the frustration that arose in 2010 in the face of an incomprehensible decision by the Constitutional Court on the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, when we see how, despite all its efforts, the State continues not to offer a political response to what is undoubtedly a political problem. The indignation at these persistent repressive reactions and at this attitude, incomprehensible and unjustified in every constitutional state, of a constant ‟on them!” [in the original ‟aporellismo”, ‟aporellism”, a neologism from the Spanish phrase ‟a por ellos!”, ‟on them, beat them!”]. And that is why there is a determined and clear defence of fundamental rights, of the right of assembly, of the right to freedom of expression, of the right to disagree, of the right to protest, and that is what I believe we must call upon all the people who have seen us these days, these months, and who see us today to understand that this is a matter which concerns all of us, which we want to build a world which respects diversity much more.

We appeal, I appeal, I urge all democrats in the Spanish State and beyond to work together to build a reality in which there are no political processes, in which there are no political prisoners. Because today we are concerned, but tomorrow it can be anyone, if we support it, if we accept it, tomorrow it can be anyone.

We held a referendum, we did so because we rightly realise that, in a conflict situation, we must use the means to listen to everyone, that was and still is my conviction. And we have done it as we did it because we could not do it otherwise, because despite the fact that eighty per cent of the population of Catalonia insist that this should be the solution, we have not been able to find ways to do it in a way which would have been agreed with the state authorities, I repeat, 80 %, and there are many people who want to vote ‘yes’ and who vote ‘yes’, many people who want to vote ‘no’ and who vote ‘no’, and many people who are undecided, whose decision is open.

But what is of fundamental importance here is still something the plaintiffs tried to deny and what the defence lawyers expressed, for my concerns, in a very clear way, that it is not a crime to hold a referendum, even if it is declared ‘illegal’. If you take the penal code into your hands, it's not a crime, it's not, it's not.

That is why we are where we are, and that is reality.

As far as the right to self-determination is concerned, I made my point on the day of the first interrogations, I will not come back to it, but I will recall something which seemed to me to be of central importance during those interrogations, we have always called for it, I have always called for it and we will always call for the exercise of the Right to Self-Determination to be non-violent. They'll never find a statement about me in any other sense. And I repeat it and I will repeat it as many times as necessary, as I demand and appeal to those who, with every right in the world, lawfully, choose the option of a united Spain, prefer it, defend it, that they may understand that they will not convince by force, that they will not convince by oppression those who either feel expelled from this state, for whatever reason, or who choose a civilised, peaceful and democratic way for a Catalan republic. It is not violence or oppression that will change these people's minds, it will not happen. Only relationships based on mutual respect and recognition are sustainable. I said it then and I repeat it, they are also the only ones worth fighting for, because never, never, never, never ever a relationship based on coercion, on insult, on threat, on oppression, on the use of violence has succeeded somewhere, at least not well. Sooner or later such a relationship will break up and finally go completely to pieces.

That is why I insist that the solution — it exists! — for this situation in which we find ourselves is called ‘politics’, and beyond that ‘democracy’. We are politicians who make politics, no more, no more and no less. Those who should have understood that did not do it then, for whatever reason, and gave you, the judges, the responsibility that you now have. And now we are in a scenario where you have to make a decision, it's your job, your role. I just ask that we may all be aware that not only twelve of us are sitting on this bench, but more than two million people who feel affected by us, affected by what brought us here, and also affected by what will happen in a possible decision on your part and who expect this decision to be courageous. These people, I repeat, will not change their opinion or view of things depending on what happens in this criminal process.

And so, and I will conclude, we will continue with an outstretched hand, whatever happens, we will reach out to everyone, whatever they think, with calm speech, even in the face of those who insult us. With a broad view, we will try to solve these problems, to react to them, to respond to them, comprehensive problems, based on our republican convictions, our faith in justice, freedom, equality and fraternity, to solve these problems that concern us all, and above all we will continue to look our daughters and sons in the eyes with dignity. With the same dignity with which thousands, millions of people around the world fight every day to defend their fundamental rights, not those of a few, but those of the whole world.

Finally, I would like to conclude with a thought which was also expressed in the concluding speech by my lawyer and friend, Andreu Van den Eynde, which I adopt and which I would like to make the final point of this speech, namely that we are facing an opportunity. I want to see, I see an opportunity, a great opportunity, an opportunity that we should be able to turn into an answer for the good of all of us, an opportunity that will allow us to move forward, and it is obvious, in trust, respect and recognition of the opinions of everyone.

After these remarks, thank you very much, and I have nothing more to add.»

A transcription of the Castilian original, the basis for the English translation, was kindly provided by the magazine L'Unilateral — El digital de la República Catalana.

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