Article published at Catalan News Agency, 28th June 2016
Photo: Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, rallied around by thousands of citizens on his way to Catalonia’s Supreme Court last October (by ACN)
Barcelona (CNA).- Former Catalan President Artur Mas, former Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega and former Minister for Education, Irene Rigau will ultimately be put on trial for alleged disobedience and perversion of justice in organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence, in November 2014. Thus, the appeal made by the defences for the accused calling the judge to close the file, hasn’t been upheld. Pro-independence cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ admitted to being “outraged at belonging to a state which considers putting out the ballot boxes a crime” and expressed their support for the summonsed. On the other hand, the leader of the Conservative People’s Party (PP) in the Parliament, Xavier García Albiol, considered it “fair” that Mas, Ortega and Rigau would have to “sit in the dock”.
However, for the trial to ultimately take place the public prosecutor and the plaintiff should write the indictment and specify the crimes of which the trio are accused.
Mas, Ortega and Rigau, who declared before Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) last October, admitted that because the consultation was prohibited by the Spanish Constitutional Court on the 4th of November, 5 days before the referendum was due to take place, the Catalan government was forced to turn it into a “participative process with far less guarantees”, stated former Catalan President, Artur Mas, during his trial. According to Mas, after the Spanish Constitutional Court’s suspension the Government started “an intense reflection process” and analysed the steps to take together with the judicial services. The initiative took on a voluntary nature and by the 4th of November “was unstoppable”.
However, Judge Joan Manel de Abril considered this Tuesday that the three politicians summonsed continued after the suspension to be behind the organisation of the symbolic vote, in particular he accused Mas, Ortega and Rigau of keeping the website Participa2014.cat online and having it updated, buying 9,000 computers and the required software to count the votes and being responsible for setting up the Fira de Barcelona pavilion so that the press could do a follow-up to the vote, as well as for the manufacture of the ballots and the ballot boxes – which were made of paper – and for the volunteers’ insurance.
According to the judge “private contractors” which were paid with public funding “played a key role” in the 9-N consultation. It is alleged that this was done “with full awareness that the [Spanish Constitutional Court’s] suspension was being disobeyed”.
Catalan Government sees “political intention”
Catalan Government spokeswoman, Neus Munté considered the moment chosen to ultimately proceed with the summonses against Mas, Ortega and Rigau to have “political intention”.“Of course there is political intention; this has been a political judgment since the very first moment and we have always reported this”, she stated. “These are tactical moves which always favour the same side”, she added. Munté assured that there had been “numerous attempts from the sewers of the State to avoid the ballot boxes being put out, but in the end they were [put out] and it was a great success and we, as a Government, must feel proud of this.”
Pro-independence parties, “outraged”
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