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October 14, 2019

Communiqué from the Governing Council on the Supreme Court’s sentencing of the political and social leaders responsible for the drive for the 1rst October referendum

The Governing Council of the Council for the Republic has issued the following communiqué after hearing the verdict reached by the Spanish Supreme Court:

  1. The verdict represents the culmination of brutally unjust measures: the criminalizing of the exercise of basic democratic rights and the repression of the peaceful, democratic defence of the right to self-determination. And such verdict lies outside what should be the proper procedures of an impartial, independent judiciary. The individuals sentenced today are all innocent, whatever a Court says that has shown itself to be undemocratic It is the duty of democrats to denounce this lack of justice.
  2. We express our solidarity, personal sympathy and political support for our colleagues who have been sentenced today. And we reiterate our recognition of the courage and dignity with which they live their unjust imprisonment from day to day.
  3. This verdict signifies the failure of the State of law and democracy in Spain. When basic civil rights – assembly, demonstration and freedom of expression and suffrage – are deemed crimes of sedition and granted long prison sentences, democracy has collapsed.
  4. The contrast between the verdict reached by the Supreme Court today and the one reached in relation to the same acts by the Court of Schleswig-Holstein and, also, the resolution of the United Nations Arbitrary Arrests Group, are proof of the extent to which Spain now positions itself outside the democratic standards of the rest of Europe and the international community.
  5. This verdict unambiguously demonstrates the political prisoner status of all those sentenced and the strictly political motivation of the whole judicial process, that should never have been initiated.
  6. The verdict on the political and civilian leaders of the independence movement because they were behind the holding of the referendum on 1 October, is also a sentence against the over 2.000.000 people who went to vote that day. It isn’t only a sentence against a number of political and social leaders but a sentence against the majority of the people of Catalonia.
  7. By generating legal precedents that limit, now forever, the exercise of political and civil rights by any citizen of the state – whether or not they support the political project for Catalan independence – this verdict opens the door to a serious curtailment of freedoms in the Spanish state.
  8. This verdict confirms our belief that the establishing of an independent Catalan Republic is the necessary step in order to guarantee political and civil rights and the full exercise of democracy in Catalonia.
  9. We call on the Catalan people to express their rejection of this unjust verdict and we give our support to the peaceful actions that have been convoked over recent days by the organisations of civil society, as well as by informal social media networks within the framework of non-violent civil action.
  10. We re-affirm the Conclusions in the Governing Council’s Communiqué (published last 14 September) to the effect that:
    – We call on Catalan civil society and Catalan institutions to prepare the necessary measures and acts to realise the popular mandate for independence.
    – We call on the people of Catalonia to mobilise to support the actions of Catalan institutions to realise this mandate, by exercising their essential civil rights in an established democratic system, as well as with civil disobedience whenever necessary, always within the framework of non-violent struggle.
  11. We recognise that the stage now beginning after this verdict will have as its central objective the gathering and organising of forces, both from within civil society and the institutions. A first step to realising the popular mandate for independence from the institutions must be the constitution of the Assembly of Elected Representatives of Catalonia, that the Council for the Republic will convoke immediately. Similarly, we call on municipal groups and civil society in different municipalities to work for the setting up of the maximum number of Local Councils for the Republic.
  12. We appeal to the states and institutions of Europe, the rest of the international community and all democrats with the following message:

The present stage of civil mobilisation is proof that the strategy of taking to the courts the conflict between Catalonia and Spain, a conflict with strictly a political nature and roots, has not only not resolved the conflict but has served to intensify it. Repression and resort to authoritarianism – by switching a political problem to the penal sphere – only serves to increase social confrontation.

As long as the state refuses to accept a democratic solution – in line with precedents in Quebec and Scotland – the conflict between Catalonia and Spain will continue. The only real, stable solution is to be found along the path of democracy and the respect for the right to self-determination.

Waterloo, 14 October 2019