Political prisoners, violent police baton charges, elected politicians seeking refuge in other countries – Democracy is on a shoogily peg in Spain.
Respected St Andrews academic, Clara Ponsanti, who had been an Education Minister in the Catalonia Government yesterday had a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued against her. Police Scotland confirmed that this had been received which they must comply with.Clara Ponsanti’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar will be representing her.
The speaker of Catalonia’s parliament, yesterday, Sunday called for a “wide social and democratic front to defend the rights and freedoms” of democracy in Catalonia. The former President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont was also detained in Germany under the European Arrest Warrant.
Supporters of Clara Ponsanti will be protesting at the Spanish Consulate at 63 North Castle Street Edinburgh today, Monday.
What is the European Arrest Warrant?
The European Arrest Warrant is issued in one member state of the EU and is valid in all 27 other states. It is a request from one country to another.
“In applying the EAW, authorities have to respect the procedural rights of suspects or accused persons – such as the right to information, to have a lawyer, and an interpreter, and to legal aid as stipulated by law in the country where they are arrested.”
“Decisions are made by judicial authorities alone, with no political considerations involved.”
Although the arrest of Carla Ponsanti is taking place in Scotland by Police Scotland it is a matter over which the Government of Scotland have no power as it is a reserved matter for the UK Government.
Find out more about it here.
A fascist dictatorship was established in Spain after the devastating Civil War which ended in 1939. Friends of Mussolini and Hitler, Spain’s Dictator General Franco executed the President of Catalonia Lluís Companys who had been in exile and handed over to the Spanish fascists by the German Gestapo.
Spain remained a fascist country until the death of Franco in 1975. A king, Juan Carlos was then installed and a constitution approved in 1978, however, an amnesty existed for former fascists. Read more about the historical context here: Catalonia
Shocking scenes erupted over social media last night of Police baton charging peaceful protestors including driving vehicles straight at people with the intention of doing bodily harm. Spain is cracking down on the people of Catalonia who a few months ago held a referendum and declared independence from the rest of Spain.
Spain joined the EU in 1986 and citizens of the EU are protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
“Individual freedoms such as respect for private life, freedom of thought, religion, assembly, expression and information are protected.”
In its actions against the process of democracy in Catalonia, the arrest of elected politicians and others for criticising the regime including organisers of peaceful protest, the violent reaction to protest and the issue of EAW against citizens living in other EU nations it must be questioned if Spain is fit to be a member of the EU.
The European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2012 for :
“advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.”
The actions of the Spanish Government in its response to the people of Catalonia and its elected institutions would fail every part of this statement.
When a regime even goes so far as to fear and ban a colour (yellow) that peg is not just shoogily it has dropped off altogether.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame