Junqueras defends democracy and disassembles the judicial farce of the State in 10 sentences
For the first time, after almost a year and a half unfairly imprisoned, the president of Esquerra Republicana has been able to express himself and speak to the world during the trial against democracy. Oriol Junqueras has claimed that defending independence and voting is not a crime: "The accusations twist the arguments. Nothing that we have done is a crime. Voting in a referendum and working for independence in a peaceful way are not crimes". And he added: "Voting is not a crime, preventing it by force is".
Junqueras has been the first to be interrogated and the first thing he did was to announce that he won't respond to any of the three accusations: "I am accused for my ideas, not for facts. I am in a political trial and, as an elected representative, I have a duty to my voters so I won't answer to the prosecution's questions. I consider myself a political prisoner".
During his speech, he emphasised that the pro-independence movement is absolutely peaceful and said that "if you take any of my articles, speeches, books or classes, there is no doubt that I have never endorsed violent actions". By contrast, he recalled that on 1 October, violence was only exercised by some members of Civil Guard and the National Police Corps. He also pointed out that "closing polling stations with violence simply served to create tension", since there was a universal electoral roll and, if a polling station was closed, people had the option to go to another.
The president of Esquerra also highlighted his commitment to dialogue: "We propose an honest dialogue" he said, "but it has always been rejected by the Spanish State; the State's chair has always been empty." At the end of his speech, he said: "I have been sent to prison and have not been able to express myself for a year and a half, but every time I have the chance I will insist: this is a political dilemma and it demands a political solution". These are the 10 most important ideas that Oriol Junqueras set out during his statement:
- Given that I will not give up my democratic convictions and the prosecution won't stop pursuing me for them, I consider I am in a situation of helplessness. I am accused for my ideas and not for facts. I am in a political trial and as an elected representative, I have a duty to my voters so I won't answer to the prosecution’s questions. I consider myself a political prisoner
- We support independence because we are democrats, republicans and we are in favour of social justice and equal opportunities. We have the conviction that the best way to embody all these values is through a Catalan Republic.
- We have always rejected violence. If there were somebody acting in a way which is not civic or peaceful, we would reject it. In fact, we would be on the opposite side. If you take any of my articles, speeches, books or classes, there is no doubt that I have never endorsed violent action.
- The accusations twist the arguments. Nothing we have done is a crime. Voting in a referendum and working for independence in a peaceful way are not crimes. The prosecution’s reasoning is entirely without foundation.
- We propose an honest dialogue. However, dialogue based on our political proposal, which has majority support, reiterated over time, democratic and peaceful, has been always denied. The chair set for the Spanish government at the negotiating table has always been empty.
- Voting is not a crime, preventing it by force is. Voting in a referendum is not a crime because it is not provided for in the Criminal Code. In fact, the legislator explicitly removed it from the Criminal Code.
- The Spanish Constitution obliges itself to incorporate international treaties. Therefore, the right to self-determination must be assumed and recognised as a democratic principle, as happens in Western democracies.
- No public funds were used in order to hold the referendum. And I am not the only one who says so. The former Spanish Minister of Finance and the former Spanish Prime Minister said the same.
- Considering we were using universal census, what was the point of closing some polling stations, if all people who wanted to vote could do it in another place? Closing polling stations with violence simply created tension. People who just wanted to vote were attacked and weapons that were banned in Catalonia were used. There was an unjustified violence that contradicted the judicial mandate.
- I have been sent to prison and I have not been able to express myself for a year and a half, but every time I have the chance I will insist: this is a political dilemma and it demands a political solution.