Five years after the failed attempt in the Catalan Parliament to vote Carles Puigdemont as president of Catalonia from exile, the Barcelona Audience has sent to prison five of the people who demonstrated outside the Catalan chamber that day, finding them guilty of an attack on an authority. These pro-independence protesters, who are part of the group known as The Seven of the 30th January (Els 7 del 30-G), have been sentenced to between five months and one year in prison, while of the other two who were accused, one has been acquitted and the other is still awaiting trial. On the other hand, all charges for public disorder and assaults on the Mossos d'Esquadra police have been dismissed.
The judgment considers it proven that, during the protest, two of the defendants attacked police officers who were arresting a demonstrator, and another "violently and repeatedly faced down the police forces, without it being recorded that he attacked any single officer". It also concludes that two of the defendants used a placard to push the members of the police cordon that was blocking one of the accesses to the Parc de la Ciutadella, where the Catalan Parliament is located, and it states that two other demonstrators got past the police line "by pushing". The public prosecutor had demanded three years in prison for each of the seven on trial, for crimes of public disorder and attacks against authorities. And for the crime of causing minor injury, fines of 600 euros each and compensation of 80 euros to four Mossos agents and 200 euros to one other.
⚠️5 condemnes per a @els7del30G❗️— Alerta Solidària (@AlertaSolidaria) February 22, 2023
👉Pel delicte d'atemptat: 1 any de presó per a 3, i 5 mesos per a 2. Les altres imputacions, FORA.
✊Van ser on calia i van fer el que tocava: LLUITAR!
✅Condemnats però amb la consciència tranquil·la! No com @Esquerra_ERC i @JuntsXCat 🤬 pic.twitter.com/Tls3kDOfxi
Translation of Tweet:
"5 convictions for @els7del30G.
For the crime of assault: 1 year in prison for 3, and 5 months for 2. The other charges, NOTHING.
They were where they needed to be and did what they had to do: FIGHT!
Convicted but with a clear conscience! Not like @Esquerra_ERC and @JuntsXCat" — Alerta Solidària (legal aid group)
In a statement this Wednesday, the legal aid group Alerta Solidària regretted that "the vote to appoint a new president that January 30th had to overcome the imposed Article 155 [creating direct rule from Madrid] and stage a new national reaffirmation in the fight for liberty. In contrast with this, the ERC traitors adjourned the parliamentary session and began the genuflection to the Spanish monarchy". The legal support group asserted that the defendants "have always been clear that they were not the ones who failed that day", that they were "on the street fulfilling their duty to our people".
Catalan government withdrew its prosecution
It should be borne in mind that the Generalitat of Catalonia, which was originally conducting a private prosecution due to the Catalan police officers who were the subject of the alleged attacks, withdrew from the court process in 2021, and this caused an effect contrary to that desired by the pro-independence activists's defence lawyers, including those of Alerta Solidària. The Generalitat's withdrawal, a year before the trial was finally held, led to its adjournment so that the police involved could proceed with their own private prosecution. The Catalan government lawyer then explained that they were withdrawing the accusation by order of the Catalan interior ministry, which represented the agents who were reporting injuries: "The determining criterion for our action was the existence of injuries and at this time the authorship cannot be determined."
Today, in its statement, Alerta Solidària recalled the events, giving its own version: "The Generalitat resisted pulling out of the case as much as it could. Finally, it chose not to withdraw fully from the case but rather to lower its prison sentence demands. However, the policemen affected were outraged and showed their true colours, abandoning the legal support from the Generalitat and employing the legal services of the fascist José Maria Fuster Fabra." Finally, Alerta Solidària warns that now, after the sentence, the parties will study possible appeals, but that all the defendants have a clear conscience "They were where they needed to be and they did what was necessary. Fight, fight and fight".
Message of support from Carles Puigdemont
Carles Puigdemont himself was one of the first to react to the news of the convictions for the attacks against authorities in the demonstration called over his failed investiture as president, at a time when he was already in Belgian exile on January 30th, 2018. The former Catalan president sent a message of support to the five convicted protesters, thanking them for their struggle: "The penalization of protest with a prison sentence, exactly as it was done before the farce of dejudicialization... And as it will continue to be done. All my support for Abel, Arnau, Cristian, Daniel, Guillem and Sergi". A message that was also critical of the dejudicialization strategy of the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the Spanish government.