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‟The charges are unfounded” — Last word from Dolors Bassa in the political show trial on Madrid

Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger

Aug 7, 2019 — 

‟The charges are unfounded” — Last word from Dolors Bassa, Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Government of Catalonia, in the political show trial at Madrid on 12 June 2019

Dolors Bassa was a Member of the Parliament of Catalonia from 26 October 2015 to 22 March 2018. After the failed vote on the appointment of Jordi Turull as President of the Government of Catalonia (following a manifestly unlawful decision by Judge Pablo Llarena), she resigned, as did Carme Forcadell and Marta Rovira, from her mandate as Member of the Catalan Parliament. As Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Generalitat de Catalunya, she was declared deposed by Spain on 28 October 2017 — without sufficient legal basis in the Spanish Constitution —, in breach of an organic law of the Spanish State, and subsequently imprisoned by the Spanish judiciary, in recognisable collusive cooperation with the Spanish Government, since 23 March 2018, without there being any recognisable basis for this in Spanish criminal law. She 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 against Arbitrary Detention, the imprisonment of Dolors Bassa is arbitrary. There is no basis for the criminal proceedings against Dolors Bassa in the first and only (!) instance before the Supreme Court in Madrid. It contravenes mandatory international law (ius cogens), European law and Spanish law. The way in which Spain deprives Dolors Bassa of its civil rights 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, set up by the Human Rights Council, in the case of Dolors Bassa Spain violates 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.

Dolors Bassa is being detained in Spain for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of opinion, expression, association, assembly and political participation. Her imprisonment violates the principle of equality of all people, because she was justified by her political opinion. The criminal proceedings brought against her do not even provide the basic guarantees for a proper and fair trial before a competent and impartial tribunal and for adequate defence. The trial against her, 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 word of Dolors Bassa in the Madrid show trial!

And Europe remains silent and only watching!

Dolors Bassa's last word before the Supreme Court in Madrid on 12 June 2019:

«Thank you very much, Mr President of the Court!
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen!

We are coming to the end of more than fifty trial days, coming and going, in my case [from the prison] of Alcalá Meco, in yours from the street. Everyone is tired, everyone has their eyes on what is going to happen, but in addition to this coming and going, I come with 478 days in prison, with a prison cell in my luggage.

How did I feel? Well, it's a trial that sometimes outraged me during the trial days, sometimes upset me and sometimes sad, sometimes sad, mostly sad, on and in the face of the charges, the arguments of the prosecution; it's true that they spoke of 'facts'. Facts' which could have been true or false, or which were false without consideration. They spoke of the intensity of these 'facts' and of 'intent', but never, not once, did they speak of the rights or violation of the rights of many citizens.

It is true that I have no legal education, and certainly not the level that each of you has, but I must say that if one speaks of a particular disturbance of public order, of a specific person and, in particular, of a given moment, one should have no right to blame this on a 'rebellion' of a legitimate government or civil organization. It should not happen that when we talk about the decision of a number of important service organizations on a strike called in due time and form, with the support of and by the Trade Unions, but also with the agreement of the employers, this is brought into the trial as evidence from the prosecution, as the prosecutors did. Either this is a mistake or an untruth, it is open to proof and easily verifiable; what was publicly visible will not be cited as evidence of affective action as intended.

I do not know whether we are in a political trial or not, I am not the one to say it, but what I can confirm is that we are in a criminal trial based on a large political background, given the arguments put forward by the prosecutors.

Before you stands a person who, as I said, has no legal training, a person who is a teacher by profession, a republican, a feminist, a proponent of Catalan sovereignty and a democrat, whose social and political commitment stems from her time as a trade unionist, in this case the General Union of Workers. I maintain these ideas and convictions without prejudice to the fact that, before going to prison, I resigned my mandate as a Member of Parliament, so I did not return to the votes [in Parliament] and did not represent a political institution; but I remain the same. On the basis of that premise, I wanted to give you three ideas and make them clear.

Firstly, I deny the actions attributed to me. I am innocent and I would like to say it with a clear and audible voice: I am innocent! None of the 'evidence' presented, which relates to an alleged criminal activity on my part, could be confirmed; it was the defence lawyers, in particular the evidence of my defence lawyer Mariano Vergés — whom I thank not only for his professionalism, but also for his personal support during all this difficult time in prison — who took it apart and plucked it to pieces, and these accusations are therefore unfounded.

Secondly, I wanted to tell you that during the twenty-two months of my term of office as Minister of the Government of Catalonia, which I believe is the highest honour that can be achieved as a public official, I have carried out my duties honestly and sincerely.

I have carried out my duties in the public service in such a way that it has served citizenship one hundred per cent, I have assumed responsibility and have headed the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Families, trying to achieve the best possible social progress for all citizens through agreements. We have achieved a social progress which, in these last elections, a large part of the politicians, a large part of the party programmes took up, and in Catalonia we have achieved it, [it was] an agreement of all parties. I say this because this is my way of trying to reach an agreement. But we also could not 'disobey' the demand of 80% of the population who wanted a vote, and I personally did not want to 'disobey' them. And that is what we did, because that was our democratic mandate, and it would have been 'disobedience' to start with an electoral programme and then not comply with it We complied with it! I would like to say that, in my trade union negotiating mentality, I always assumed that when there was tension, when there was political tension at any time, it was a temporary political conflict and our way forward was to negotiate, far from what some accused us of keeping a constitutional order in check. That is why I have always, always rejected violence and never promoted it. That is why it is true that you will find nothing at all, not a single word, not a single argument, neither in the social networks nor in any interview that refers to or promotes violence. That is why there will certainly be words of dialogue and democracy. I therefore expect an acquittal and, at the same time, I ask for release from prison in order to await the judgment at home.

However, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to add something that is important to me. I belong to the generation of those of us who are sixty years old, who have listened to our grandparents in Catalonia, who have told us something called ‟the trial in Catalonia”, something difficult and complicated which has not even been written in books. We all know that history is not written in books, because sometimes history books are written by the powerful and victors; but it is handed down orally by our ancestors. For nothing in the world would I want my four-year-old granddaughter called Senda to hear about a ‟trial in Catalonia” or how terrible a ‟trial against Catalonia” can be!

The generations to come depend on your verdict. Your judgment, ladies and gentlemen, will not only determine the last stage of my life, it will not only determine what I can do from now on, but it may also be the beginning of a solution for many people. I ask you to think about it, I ask you and leave it up to you to think that your judgment will decide not only my freedom, but the freedom (in capital letters) of many generations.

Thank you, Your Honour, not only for listening to me, but also for giving me your attention!

Thank you very much!»

A transcription of the Castilian original on which the German translation was based was kindly provided to me by the magazine L'Unilateral — El digital de la República Catalana.

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