German extradition of Puigdemont to Spain

This video says about itself:

Spain: Solidarity march for imprisoned and exiled Catalan politicians

14 July 2018

Over 100,000 people marched in Barcelona on Saturday, to demand the freedom for political prisoners, return of exiles and an end to reprisals by the Spanish state.

The protesters marched through the city, carrying a big banner, reading “Not as prisoners, not as exiles, we want them [Catalan politicians] at home”, as well as numerous Catalan flags.

Heading the crowd was Joaquim Torra, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Speaking to the press, he said, “They must be released immediately. We demand from the Spanish state to release the political prisoners, and to allow the immediate return of our exiles.”

Marta Vilalta from the Republican Left of Catalonia party added, “The German justice said that there was no rebellion and no sedition, that there wasn’t violence, so they are truly political prisoners, those who are now in prison.”

The march was organised by grassroots campaigners from Òmnium Cultural, the ANC and the Associacio Catalans pels Drets Civils.

By Alejandro López in Spain:

German court authorises extradition of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to Spain on embezzlement charges

16 July 2018

The German High Court in Schleswig-Holstein ruled Thursday that former Catalan regional president, Carles Puigdemont, could be extradited to Spain—but only on the lesser charge of embezzlement of public funds.

Meaning using the Catalan government’s own money (not Madrid government money) to have the independence referendum.

The last time a German government extradited a democratically elected head of the Catalan government to Spain was in 1940, when nazi dictator Adolf Hitler handed over Catalan Lluis Companys to his Spanish ally Franco; who had Companys tortured to death.

The German court threw out the charge of “rebellion” requested in Spain’s European Arrest Warrant (EAW), arguing that “violent clashes with the Civil Guards or the National Police

caused by these the Civil Guards and National Police, not by peaceful people wanting to vote.

did not reach a point where the constitutional order was under threat in Spain.”

A court spokesperson said, “The court decided this morning that an extradition due to the accusation of misuse of public funds is permissible. Therefore, the court rejected the German state prosecutor’s argument that the Spanish charge of ‘rebellion’, which according to Spain’s penal code may apply only to those who ‘violently and publicly’ try to ‘abrogate, suspend or modify the Constitution, either totally or partially’, could be equated with the German penal code’s charge of ‘high treason.’”

Puigdemont still faces up to 12 years in prison if extradited and convicted of embezzlement in Spain. His lawyer has announced an appeal to the German Constitutional Court on the grounds that the former regional president cannot not receive a fair trial at home.

On Saturday, a 100,000-strong demonstration was held in Barcelona called by the nationalist organisations Òmnium Cultural and Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and attended by leaders from all the Catalan nationalist parties and … Catalunya en Comú-Podem [“Catalonia in Common–We Can”. This party advocated abstention at the independence referendum]. Under the slogan “No Jail, Nor Exile, we want you back home”, the march demanded freedom for the eleven secessionist leaders still held in custody in Spain on rebellion charges for their part in last year’s declaration of independence and for Puigdemont and other former ministers to be allowed to return without fear of reprisals.

The new Catalan president, Quim Torra, told the protestors that the court decision proved that the accusation of rebellion was a “fictional story” and that the independence movement “will come out again and again until the prisoners and ‘exiles’ return home.”

In Spain, the Supreme Court has yet to respond. If it rejects the ruling, Puigdemont would be free in Germany (but facing arrest if he leaves that country, as the warrant remains in effect elsewhere in Europe). If the Supreme Court accepts the ruling, it would throw into confusion the fate of the imprisoned secessionist leaders. Their lawyers have now called for their release, insisting that the decision of the German court “should have an impact.”

Puigdemont declared the court ruling a victory. He tweeted, “We have defeated the main lie upheld by the state [Spain]. German justice denies that the referendum on October 1 was rebellion”, adding, “Every minute spent by our colleagues in prison is a minute of shame and injustice. We will fight to the end, and we will win!”

In Germany, the press concluded much the same as Puigdemont. The Frankfürter Allgemeine Zeitung declared, “Puigdemont triumphs—a little.” Der Spiegel pointed out the “strange” anomaly created whereby Puigdemont could not be judged on the same charges as those imprisoned in Spain, while the Süddeutsche Zeitung warned that Germany had become “involuntarily an actor in the conflict in Catalonia, in which the German government had largely stayed on the sidelines.”

In Spain, the newly installed minority Socialist Party (PSOE) government announced it would abide by the ruling, although it is a clear rebuke to the line the party has pursued in the Catalan crisis. In October last year, the PSOE supported the right-wing Popular Party (PP) government’s crushing of the referendum in Catalonia, leaving 1,000 protestors injured, the imposition of an unelected government in the region and the arrest of the Catalan nationalists.

Reacting to the German ruling, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said “the important thing in terms of Spanish justice” was that those involved in the independence bid last year “are judged by the Spanish courts.” He added that the situation in Catalonia needed “much dedication” and patience and “will not be resolved in a day, two months or five months.”

To that end, on Monday, Sánchez and Torra agreed to relaunch bilateral committees between the two governments, which have been inactive for the past seven years. Negotiations are also taking place on Catalonia being granted greater control over its financing, railroad and airport facilities.

The separatist parties—Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia (JxC) and Catalan Republican Left (ERC)—have in practice abandoned unilateral independence and are seeking to strike a deal with Madrid that will result in greater regional powers. These forces agree that though there is no Catalan state yet, running day-to-day affairs in this way would be good because it constitutes “making a republic.”

One of Torra’s main demands is the reinstatement of over a dozen Catalan laws suspended by the Constitutional Court on the instigation of the former PP government. “We’re ready to lift the vetoes on those laws”, said PSOE Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, while warning against any attempts to resurrect the independence process.

While Torra celebrated the German court ruling and demanded freedom for the political prisoners “now more than ever”, Spain’s main [righ-wing] opposition parties, the PP and Citizens, and the Madrid-based media reacted furiously.

PP spokesperson in the European Parliament, Esteban González Pons, urged Sánchez to “suspend the application of the Schengen Treaty in Spain as many other countries of the [European] Union have done, until we clarify whether the EAW serves for something or does not serve at all.”

Citizens leader Albert Rivera also attacked the EAW, saying it was “regrettable” that it seemed to be “an instrument for the benefit of fugitives.” He welcomed as “good news” the ruling that Puigdemont could be extradited for embezzlement, because he would have to “face” Spanish justice and “pay” for spending public money on a “coup d’état.”

The pro-PSOE daily El País celebrated the fact that Puigdemont would be jailed if he were extradited, but declared, “The truth is that the German decision places the Spanish judicial system in a blind alley.”

The newspaper commented that if the Spanish courts “surrender” and accept the ruling, “it will be impossible to apply the principle of legal equality, since the prisoners of the [independence] process will be judged for rebellion, while the former regional premier, charged for the same cause, would be judged for a misdemeanor of embezzlement.”

The right-wing El Español appealed to Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena to reject the extradition with “the firm idea that the fugitive should be judged on rebellion.”

It warned that the ruling “gives oxygen to the jailed coup plotters and helps to weaken the accusation against the pro-independence activists. All this at a very delicate moment, with a weak government in Spain that may be tempted to use this ruling … to promote detente with the Catalan government.”

The only national party to welcome the ruling was Podemos. Elisenda Alamany, spokesperson for Catalunya en Comú-Podem, asked Spain’s prosecutor to “withdraw” the charges of rebellion against Puigdemont leader because they “no longer hold up.” Alamany insisted that the judicialisation of politics “brings no solution.”

PUIGDEMONT WARRANT DROPPED Spanish authorities have dropped a European arrest warrant for former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont over his part in last year’s independence referendum. [CNN]

Yesterday, the Spanish Supreme Court abandoned its attempts to secure the extradition of deposed Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont from Germany back to Spain. … The PP backed far-right anti-Catalan protests singing the “Cara al Sol” anthem of former fascist dictator Francisco Franco and threatened Puigdemont with the fate of Catalan regional President Lluís Companys, whom Franco had shot [after Hitler extradited him]. Army chief General Fernando Alejandro identified Catalonia as a military threat to Spain: here.


Germany extraditing Puigdemont to Spain

This video says about itself:

Protests in Barcelona after former Catalan president arrested

25 March 2018

Protesters took to the streets in Barcelona after former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was arrested in Germany five months after he went into self-imposed exile from Spain.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Carles Puigdemont, the leader of the separatist movement in Catalonia, will be extradited to Spain by Germany.

The last time a German government extradited a democratically elected head of the Catalan government to Spain was in 1940, when nazi dictator Adolf Hitler handed over Catalan Lluis Companys to his Spanish ally Franco; who had Companys tortured to death.

The justice department in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has decided this on the basis of a judgment of the court in that state.

Today’s judgment said that it is possible to extradite Puigdemont for misappropriation of government money,

meaning using the Catalan government’s own money (not Madrid government money) to have the independence referendum

but not for rebellion.

Which may be a crime in Spain, but not in Germany. However, once Puigdemont will be in a Spanish jail, the Schleswig-Holstein court cannot stop Spanish judges from convicting Puigdemont for ‘rebellion’ as well. Spanish judges, many of whom were law students during the Franco dictatorship. Many of whom owe their jobs to the right-wing Popular Party, founded by an ex-minister of dictator Franco.

The prosecutor general then announced that the Catalan will be actually sent to Spain. …

In Catalonia, Puigdemont was succeeded by Quim Torra as president of the Catalan region. He had a talk this week with the new Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez about the future of the autonomous region Catalonia.

Will social democrat Sanchez stop the persecution of his right-wing predecessor Rajoy against Puigdemont and other Catalan political prisoners; against anti-monarchist rapper Josep Valtònyc; and in persecuting being drunk in a pub, or doing puppet theatre, as ‘terrorism’?

Spain to establish truth commission over Franco crimes: here.

Spanish police arrests Catalan football fans for yellow shirts

This 22 April 2018 video is called Pro-Catalan Supporters Targeted By Spanish Police.

Sometimes, police arrest football fans for hooliganism. But in this case, the arrests were for wearing yellow shirts; seen as a protest against making Catalans political prisoners.

This was at the King’s Cup match in Madrid yesterday. FC Barcelona from Catalonia won the cup by beating Sevilla 5 to 0.

From AFP news agency today:

Spanish authorities under fire over cup final yellow ban

Spanish authorities are facing a backlash after Barcelona supporters were forced to ditch yellow T-shirts ahead of the club’s Spanish Cup final victory over Sevilla.

Several television stations showed pictures of police forcing Barça fans to discard their yellow T-shirts before entering the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid ahead of the 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla that earned the Catalan club a 30th Copa del Rey victory.

Many Catalans — including Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola whose ribbon has resulted in a fine by English football authorities — have been donning yellow to show support for nine Catalan independence leaders held in prison near Madrid over “rebellion”.

They face up to 30 years in jail if convicted of that charge. …

Barça have often played a significant role in the Catalan independence movement supported by many of their fans. The club is seen by many as a bastion of resistance against Madrid domination, not just on the football field but in political halls too.

Barça centre-back Gerard Pique has been jeered many times by Spain fans while wearing the national team jersey over his open support for a referendum on Catalan independence.

Saturday’s measures sparked anger in Catalonia.

“Inexplicable. We’re a club that defends freedom of expression”, said Barça chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu after the game, adding that he would demand an explanation from the Spanish Football Federation.

“If now, a simple colour is an offence to the State, where are we going?” former Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont tweeted from Germany where he is in self-imposed exile to avoid a Spanish arrest warrant.

“Banning yellow in a football stadium is absurd and ridiculous, and an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression”, said pro-Catalan independence association Omnium Cultural.

Social media users reacted with irony, asking if the match officials for the cup final would also have their jerseys taken from them as they were wearing yellow.

Some Barcelona fans jeered the Spanish national anthem and the watching King Felipe VI ahead of Saturday’s match.

A goal from Argentine superstar Lionel Messi and two from Uruguay international forward Luis Suarez helped Barça cruise to victory.

Rally for freeing Catalan political prisoners in Valencia, Spain

This video says about itself:

21 April 2018

Pro-Catalan independence activists joined a mass rally in Valencia to honour the victims of hate crimes.

Stop repression in Catalonia, Amsterdam demonstration 14 April

This video says about itself:

Police brutality on Catalonia independence referendum (01/10/2017)

Images of police repression today in Sant Iscle de Vallalta, a tiny 1200 people village close to Barcelona.

From Facebook, about a demonstration, Saturday 14 April, 2 pm at the Dam square in Amsterdam, the Netherlands:

Stand up for democracy and human rights! Solidarity with the Catalans!

The Spanish repression of Catalans gets worse by the day. In the meantime, nine Catalan MPs and activists have already been arrested. Without ever using violence, they are accused of ‘violent revolt’. On the weekend of the demonstration, two leaders of the Catalan movement will have been jailed for no reason already for six months.

In recent months more than 1,500 people were injured by the Spanish authorities and the only crime was that they wanted to vote, 150 fascist attacks took place in Catalonia, 140 websites were taken off the Internet, police attacked journalists, critical rappers were sentenced to prison and committees in which local residents gather to defend their right of self-determination are being criminalized. Whether you are against or for independence, this undermining of democracy and human rights must stop!

Member states of the EU refuse to condemn the Spanish state and are cooperating in the extradition of political prisoners. Earlier, the EU also put democracy aside in Greece by pushing through its draconian austerity policy. From Barcelona to Athens and Amsterdam we speak out this weekend in solidarity with the Catalans.

Defend democracy and human rights!
Freedom for the Catalan political prisoners!
For the right of self-determination!

The extradition case of former Catalan Education Minister, Clara Ponsatí, comes to court today in Edinburgh, Scotland for a preliminary hearing: here.

Catalan Clara Ponsati, deportation from Scotland to Spanish jail?

Former Catalan education minister Clara Ponsati (centre), who is facing extradition to Spain, greets supporters alongside her lawyer Aamer Anwar outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after she was released on bail

This photo shows former Catalan education minister Clara Ponsati (centre), who is facing extradition to Spain, greeting supporters alongside her lawyer Aamer Anwar outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after she was released on bail. A sign says, in Spanish: ‘There is no democracy in Spain‘.

By Conrad Landin in Britain:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Scottish court grants bail to Catalan politician facing jail in Spain

A CATALAN politician facing jail over the recent independence referendum was bailed by a Scottish court today.

Clara Ponsati was the Spanish region’s education minister but she fled to Belgium, along with Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, when the administration was sacked by the Spanish government last autumn. Catalonia had declared independence from Spain following a referendum which Madrid declared to be illegal.

Ms Ponsati later returned to a teaching post at St Andrews University, which she had previously held before entering front-line politics.

A European arrest warrant for a number of Catalan ex-ministers was reissued on Friday and Ms Ponsati handed herself in to police in Edinburgh this morning.

The hearing before Sheriff Nigel Ross lasted less than 10 minutes this afternoon in a courtroom crowded with press and supporters.

The court heard that Ms Ponsati does not consent to extradition. The application for bail was not opposed by the Crown. Granted bail, Ms Ponsati was asked to surrender her passport.

Her lawyer said she views the charges, which could attract a jail term of up to 30 years, as political persecution and believes that her human rights cannot be guaranteed in Spain.

Students at St Andrews protested against her arrest outside the university’s students union today evening. A bigger demonstration will be held on Monday from 7pm.

Aamer Anwar, a celebrated rights lawyer and Glasgow University rector, who is representing Ms Ponsati, said: “Clara remains defiant, resolute and is determined to fight back.”

Mr Anwar said his client was “truly humbled by the unconditional support from students, colleagues and the principal at St Andrews University,” and expressed thanks to the Scottish public and politicians for their support. “Scotland has been a true friend to Catalonia in her darkest hours,” he added.

The ex-minister’s counsel is likely to argue that rebellion is not a crime in Scotland, though the offence of treason could be deemed sufficiently similar. The case could also be struck out on grounds that it is politically motivated.

Mr Puigdemont, heading back to Belgium from a trip to Finland, was arrested by police in Germany on Monday. After a preliminary hearing, he will need to appear in court again to before a judge will determine whether he should be extradited.

St Andrews hits out at Spanish bid to extradite Catalan academic. University ‘deeply concerned’ after former Catalan minister Clara Ponsatí named in warrant: here.

University Statement on Professor Clara Ponsati: Clara is a valued colleague and we are committed to protect and support her.

SCOTTISH First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected tonight to meet a former Catalan minister facing extradition to Spain. Clara Ponsati, an economist, is being chased by the authorities in Madrid for alleged “violent rebellion” for her involvement in the region’s bid for independence: here.

Spanish judiciary accuses former Catalan President Puigdemont of “mobilising the masses”: here.

Spanish police attack protests demanding release of Catalonian leaders: here.

Barcelona: Hundreds of thousands protest against jailing of Catalan independence leaders: here.

German police arrests Catalan politician, people protest

This 25 March 2018 video says about itself:

Protests in Barcelona after former Catalan president arrested

Protesters took to the streets in Barcelona after former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was arrested in Germany five months after he went into self-imposed exile from Spain.

Mass protests have erupted against the arrest by German police of Catalonia’s former regional premier Carles Puigdemont. The arrest warrant was requested by the Popular Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy: here.

The Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party, SGP) condemns the German authorities’ arrest of Carlos Puigdemont and demands his immediate release. The former regional president of Catalonia was arrested Sunday morning by German federal police officers on an autobahn in the state of Schleswig-Holstein and detained in a facility in the town of Neumünster. … Puigdemont has committed no crime, but is being pursued for purely political reasons … A comment in the Süddeutsche Zeitung entitled “Germany has its first political prisoner”, acknowledged that Madrid is attempting to “decimate a democratic mass movement with prisons and fines.” It is “obvious that the Spanish judiciary’s hardline stance is aimed at destroying the social and economic existence of the Catalan activists”: here.

Catalan Spring? Resistance fills the streets as ex-President arrested in Germany: here.

Tense protests leave nearly 90 injured and 4 arrested across Catalonia. Thousands take to the streets peacefully to demand Puigdemont’s release after his detention in Germany: here.

Having been caught by Hitler Germany‘s Gestapo in France, and extradited to Franco‘s Spain, Lluís Companys i Jover, anti-fascist president of Catalonia, was executed by a Francoist firing squad on October 15th 1940.

The arrest of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont: Another step toward a police state in Europe: here.

Germany and UK collude with Spanish extradition warrants against Catalan leaders Puigdemont and Ponsatí: here.