Friday, 10 February 2017

Mas at 9-N trial: “We didn’t disobey but faced up to the Spanish State”


Barcelona (CNA).- Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, former Catalan vice-president Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, had another chance to defend their innocence before the judge this Friday, at the 9-N trial’s last session. According to Mas, none of the accused disobeyed the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) ban by allowing the symbolic vote on independence in 2014. Instead, they “faced up to the Spanish State, which was abusing its power”, he said. According to Mas, the Spanish executive “forced the situation” during the days before the 9-N took place and “used the TC to do the work they daren’t do from a political perspective”. “The fact that one government opposes another can be appreciated more or less, but it is not a crime” added Mas. Now the case will be made ready for sentencing.

According to Mas, what has been brought before the court is “the success” of the 9-N, in which more than 2.3 million citizens expressed their opinion about Catalonia’s political future. In this vein, he lamented that the Spanish State, rather than being proud of a political and pacific process which mobilised so many people “tries to turn it into a crime”. “What a pity and what a mistake, what a terrible mistake”, he said before the court.

Mas insisted that he was “the highest ranking political figure responsible” for the 9-N, explaining that he was “responsible for listening to the people and trying to check whether their demands could be transferred to the ballot boxes”. Regarding the role of the public servants in the symbolic consultation, in which the Public Prosecutor sees a proof of a crime, Mas insisted that after the TC’s ban the 9-N was in the volunteers’ hands. “I would like to ask the TC how could we give orders to 42,000 volunteers?”, he said and added that the Government could “make recommendations but not give orders” to them.

Ortega: Catalonia will be what the Catalans want it to be

Former vice-president, Joana Ortega, insisted that “listening to the people can’t be considered a crime” and assured that the “9-N’s essence can’t be put on trial, neither can joy or freedom”. Ortega described the 9-N as the day “which honoured the most” her political career and emphasised, once again, that she “wasn’t aware of committing a crime” by allowing the consultation. “Catalonia will be what the Catalans want it to be”, she stated.

Rigau: Will democracy ban me from public office for a crime I didn’t commit?

“The Francoist dictatorship didn’t purge me, will democracy ban me from public office for a crime I didn’t commit?”, former Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, asked rhetorically before the judge. She insisted that she didn’t urge any school director to do anything illegal. “We have made our democratic way, we have made it by walking and we will keep on walking”, she said.

Puigdemont: “We all should feel proud of the 9-N”

Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, addressed the media this Friday, right after the trial over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence ended and deliberation began. “We all should feel proud of the 9-N” said Puigdemont. “Thank you for having defended Catalonia’s dignity”, he said addressing Mas, Ortega and Rigau, who have been accused of disobedience and breach of trust for allowing the 9-N to take place. Mas, who was next to Puigdemont during the press conference, recalled that the week started by leaving Catalan Government’s headquarters and “feeling many people’s warmth”. “We have felt the Government’s support throughout the week”, he added. According to Mas, the 9-N “was not a stage” but the proof that the Catalan Government “was not alone”. “The citizens turned a consultation which was mocked into one of the greatest democratic examples of the last decades”, stated Mas.

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  • Former Catalan President, Artur Mas and former Catalan Ministers Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau leaving Barcelona's High Court (by ACN)