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‟Censorship must not enter Parliament” — Closing remarks of Carme Forcadell in the Madrid trial

Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger

Jul 27, 2019 — 

‟Censorship must not enter Parliament” — Closing Remarks of the legitimate President of the Parliament of Catalonia, Carme Forcadell, in the Madrid political trial of 12 June 2019

The legitimate President of the Parliament of Catalonia was declared dismissed by Spain on 28 October 2017 in violation of an organic law of the Spanish state and subsequently imprisoned by the Spanish judiciary in recognizable collusive cooperation with the Spanish government since 23 March 2018, with no discernible basis for this in Spanish criminal law. She is an outstanding political prisoner in Spain and, therefore, also in the European Union, whose fate is followed with compassion throughout the world.

According to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the detention of their co-defendants Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Cuixart, Joaquim Forn, Josep Rull, Raül Romeva and Dolors Bassa is arbitrary. The same goes for Carmen Forcadell's case. The criminal proceedings against her, which take place in the first and only (!) instance before the Supreme Court of Madrid, are unfounded. It violates binding international law (ius cogens), European law and Spanish law. The way in which Spain deprives Carme Forcadell of her civil rights is a clear reminder of the injustice of German National Socialism and Spanish Francoism.

According to the competent organ of the United Nations, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention created by the Human Rights Council, Spain has violated, in the case of the other seven political prisoners mentioned, 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. This also applies to the case of Carme Forcadell.

Carme Forcadell is being detained in Spain for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of opinion, expression, association, assembly and political participation and, above all, for having passed laws on which the Spanish Constitutional Court had required her not to do so, considering that, contrary to international law binding on Spain, the Spanish Constitutional Court had the right to order her in her capacity as President of the Catalan Parliament not to do so. Her imprisonment violates the principle of the equality of all human beings because it was justified by her political opinion. The criminal proceedings instituted against her 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 her and other Catalan political prisoners, a cheap farce, is a disgrace for Spain and for the European Union as a whole, which tacitly tolerates these serious violations of human rights.

May all good people listen or read the final words of Carme Forcadell in the Madrid political trial!

And the European Union is silent and does nothing!

Closing remarks of Carme Forcadell before the Supreme Court of Madrid on 12 June 2019:

«Ladies and gentlemen,

when I testified for the first time before this court in February, it was already very difficult to sustain and understand why and with what evidence I am accused of the crime of rebellion, while my fellow men and women at the board are accused of the crime of disobedience and will be tried in the High Court of Justice of Catalonia. Today, after 447 days of unjust imprisonment and after four months of trial in which we have seen all the evidence and heard the witnesses, it is completely incomprehensible.

As the documentary and witness evidence has shown, my conduct has been exactly the same as that of my fellow board members. There is no statement, no fact that differs from that of my colleagues both inside and outside the table. My vote was as important or as unimportant as yours, as necessary or as unimportant as yours. There is no act, no tweet, so much so that there has been talk of tweets, no mail, no telephone call, no whatsapp that justifies my being separated from the rest of the Bureau of Parliament. The prosecution, on two different occasions during Mr. Sànchez's statement and during Mr. Jané's testimony, stated that the activity and performance of the Assembly during 2015 was not subject to accusation and that it was not even interested in it. I understand that this is why the other organizations that signed the roadmap were not called upon to testify.

I understand, therefore, that I am being judged as President of the Parliament of Catalonia, but all the formalities that I did were jointly with the members of the Bureau or were adopted by the plenary. My conduct was exactly the same as that of my fellow Members, as shown by the board minutes and the transcripts of Parliament's plenary sittings.

For all these reasons, I affirm that I am being judged by my political trajectory, by being who I am, not by my actions, not by my deeds. Proof of this are the desperate and brazen attempts to alter, to change reality in order to sustain the accusation or the accusations against me, such as granting me functions that I did not have as President of Parliament because it does not allow it. It won't allow it. The parliamentary initiatives are of the parliamentary groups, of the government, of the citizens, but never of the board. Never from the board. Parliament's bureau is always complying with Parliament's Rules of Procedure, as all the people who have passed through here have testified, as all the witnesses have said. We defended freedom of expression, the right of initiative, the right of political participation of all Members. This is reality.

I would like to say to you, ladies and gentlemen, that during this trial an extraordinary effort has been made, an effort observed by all the people who have followed this trial, in order to make me visible, so that my name came out the more times the better. Let's see where we can place it, to differentiate myself from the board, to incriminate myself with false testimonies and without any evidence. It seems, ladies and gentlemen, that these four months of trial have served no purpose. All the documentary evidence, all the testimonies, all the testimonial evidence have passed through here. They've been useless. The accusations had the opportunity to change their writing, that those facts that had been proven during the trial that were not true, not to put them back. But they've kept them. They've kept them. It remains in the indictment that I was president of the Assembly from 2011 to 2015. But I was from April 2012 to May 2015. It remains in the accusation that I made a tuit about the Mossos d'Esquadra, that when I was asked by the prosecution I said it was categorically false and I asked that it be shown, that that tuit be taught, and I was told that ‘no, we did not find it’.

Of course they didn't find it, because it doesn't exist, but this tuit remains. It remains that I made calls to occupy the schools, false. I didn't make an appeal. Everyone will remember that Lieutenant Colonel Baena tried to place me in a meeting, but when he was asked by my defense what meeting and what it was like, he said, ‟Oh, sorry, I've had a lapse.” What a coincidence, the only person who had a lapse was with me. But I believe, ladies and gentlemen, that the evidence demonstrated by this extraordinary effort, this iron will to incriminate me, refers to a fact which my lawyer also spoke about this morning. But I need to say it. It is said that I was unable to attend the meeting on the 28th. False, no one called me to this meeting. False, I was never summoned. I heard about this meeting in this room. Of course they didn't summon me, because everyone knew that I had nothing to do with the government, because all the defendants and all the witnesses have said that I never met with the government, that I didn't take part in any decision. But the prosecution says I couldn't go. How can that be? That the only thing changed in the indictment is another falsehood. This is serious and extraordinary.

Look, ladies and gentlemen, it is true that as President of Parliament I have argued that the word, in Parliament, must be free, and I will continue to advocate it, because freedom of expression is the essence of democracy. We cannot turn Parliament's bureau into a censor body that decides what can or cannot be talked about, because if we did, we would be restricting citizens' rights and freedoms. Censorship must not enter Parliament. It mustn't. It is precisely in order to preserve the freedom of debate, speech and vote for all Members that parliamentary inviolability exists, in order to preserve this freedom, so that all Members may speak and vote freely. This parliamentary inviolability is what the Members of Parliament had and have, what the members of the board had in our political decisions and this inviolability is what I invoke here. Because this is the basis of the freedom of the votes so that you can talk about everything. And it is also the basis for the separation of powers. And I will continue to defend it because I firmly believe it, Your Honor.

I hope that you will take account of all these circumstances and I hope that you will judge the proven facts and not the false accusations that ignore reality. Because yes, not just me, there are many people who are convinced that I am here because of who I am, because of my political trajectory, not because of the facts. But I also hope that this situation will be remedied.

Thank you very much!»

The transcript was kindly provided by the magazine L'Unilateral — El digital de la República Catalana.

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