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The controversial Spanish National Audience judge Manuel García Castellón has decided to pass the ball - specifically, to his superiors in the Supreme Court. García Castellón has elevated to the high court the investigation for alleged terrorism he has been conducting into the Democratic Tsunami pro-independence protest platform, in which he has included Catalan MEP and former president Carles Puigdemont, and the secretary general of the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), Marta Rovira. The case is also inquiring into 10 other Catalan pro-independence figures, among them the current Catalan MP and Bureau member, Ruben Wagensberg (ERC). For this reason, Castellón argues that the investigation of this case belongs to the Supreme Court, given that the high court has determined that MEPs, such as Puigdemont himself, as well as MPs from the Catalan Parliament, like Ruben Wagensberg, are outside the National Audience's jurisdiction. Thus, the judge asserts that to clarify the facts he is unable to make the inquiries he needs, since Puigdemont and Wagensberg are partially protected by parliamentary immunity.

The judge's resolution asserts that Puigdemont was at the apex of the Democratic Tsunami organization and adds that his position as ex-president of Catalonia, and leader of the independence movement from from Belgium gives him "a position of unquestionable authority".

Judge says that the actions carried out can be defined as terrorism

In addition, the judge's text also explains that at this point in the court procedure, the definition of the crime cannot be stated in an exclusive way, but rather, the seriousness of the actions and their complexity mean they could fall under the definition of several offences that could be classed as terrorist actions in the sense provided for in European Union law.

The magistrate analyzes the violent actions that took place on October 14th, 2019 at Barcelona-El Prat Airport and points out that the protest was an illegal action, in the broadest sense of the word, since there was no legal call for a demonstration or meeting. He recalls that it is not possible to authorize demonstrations and rallies in a critical facility such as the Barcelona airport. This action, according to the judge, fits into the Penal Code's definition of terrorism offences due to the material damage, injuries to people, the physical integrity of those present at the airport facility and the impact on air traffic.

The death of a traveller and the extraditions

For García Castellón, it is necessary to investigate whether the protest disruption of the airport could have had any influence in the death of a person, omitting to add that the emergency services denied this at the time: a French tourist died of a heart attack, as the media duly reported. He considers it necessary to find out if the blockade of the airport could have played any part in the lethal outcome to the French visitor. "In other words, it would be about ruling out that the death (...) on 14/10/2019 could have been avoided," he details.

The violent protest incidents, he continues, lasted until the early hours of the morning of October 15th, resulting in multiple injuries, to both police and civilians. For this reason, the judge considers that the investigation will have to clarify the details of those who were injured, with the corresponding offer of actions in response, and decide if the damage suffered is equally attributable to those responsible for the organization who are investigated. It will be especially relevant to clarify, he continues, if there were airport users among the injured, in order to specify the risk that the action organized by Tsunami posed to the physical integrity of the people who were at the airport. "Not only was damage caused to people, but, in addition, significant economic damages were caused, and the investigation will have to specify if those are objectively attributable to those responsible for the organization," he warns.

García Castellón analyzes the actions carried out, according to the international conventions for the repression of illegal acts against the safety of civil aviation, and recalls that several of those investigated in this procedure are currently outside Spain, specifically in Switzerland and Belgium, countries that have signed the civil aviation treaties indicated. This means that, in the event that these facts cannot be prosecuted in Spain, there is the possibility of prosecuting the events that took place on October 14th, 2019 at El Prat airport, in one of the other countries mentioned, if use is made of the appropriate judicial cooperation mechanisms by the Supreme Court.

Prosecutor's appeal

Despite the move that García Castellón has made in the case, the public prosecutors at the National Audience have presented an appeal against the judge's resolution accusing Rovira of terrorism offences and initiating an investigation against the Catalan president in exile. In the appeal, the prosecutors assert that there is no evidence for pursuing a charge of terrorism. The prosecutor maintains that the judge's decision "has a general lack of motivation" and "no specific facts" are attributed to Puigdemont, and asserts that "it cannot be maintained that Rovira was coordinating Tsunami either."

The intention of Junts, ERC and PSOE is that the Democratic Tsunami case, which affects pro-independence activists and leaders Oriol Soler, Xavier Vendrell, Marta Molina, Josep Campmajó, Jesús Rodríguez, Jaume Cabani Massip, Oleguer Serra, Marta Rovira Vergés, Josep Lluis Alay Rodríguez, and Nicola Flavio Giulio Foglia, as well as Carles Puigdemont and Ruben Wagensberg, should be covered by the planned amnesty law at present beginning its passage through the Spanish parliament. In fact, the text of the amnesty bill emphasizes that acts of terrorism will be excluded from its coverage after a final sentence if the conduct of those convicted is matches the definition in Article 3 of the European directive on terrorism.


Junts reacted to the manoeuvre of García Castellón this Tuesday morning, railing against the National Audience judge. "When it comes to persecuting pro-independence, nothing is accidental, it is always deliberate. This is what happens when, instead of dispensing justice, you want to act as a vigilante against the independence movement," said the general secretary of Junts, Jordi Turull, via a post on X.