Pina denies rebellion and sedition: "Those are not uprisings. Those are protests and demonstrations"The closing statements of the defence counsel of Sànchez, Turull and Rull points out that neither the King nor Pedro Sánchez, then head of the opposition, spoke of rebellion after 1-O
It is not an uprising, it is a protest. That is one of the main arguments put forward by attorney Jordi Pina, who defends Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, put forward during his closing remarks in the Catalan independence trial.
Pina, whose speech took up the nearly three hours at his disposal - one per defendant - challenged the arguments of the State Attorney General by suggesting that it was unable to situate "when the public uprising" took place, and that "protests" and "demonstrations" in disagreement with legal actions have been painted with this brush:
"Those are not uprisings, those are protests, demonstrations. I was surprised when the prosecution stated that the actions of judges were being challenged. Indeed, begging your pardon, all citizens have the right to protest against their decisions. Those of us who are lucky enough to be in a State in which we can say what we do not like, firmly but civilly and respectfully, that is healthy criticism,.
"And there are many judges, and there are some who have failed their duties, unfortunate as that may be."
Pina also recalled the words of Pedro Sánchez and of King Felipe VI after 1-O which, as he pointed out, highlighted that there was no rebellion in Catalonia:
"The fact that nothing relevant happened that could imply rebellion can be seen in a tweet from then-head of the opposition Pedro Sánchez on that day: 'I would like to clearly state my disapproval of the baton charges. I wish the injured a swift recovery. And we will demand responsibility from those who ordered the charges.' Those were the words of the current acting prime minister. If it had been a nightmarish episode of rebellion, would he have made this comment?"
With regard to the monarch, Pina said his speech on 3-O does not speak of rebellion:
"In his speech, the King does not speak of rebellion, he speaks of restoring constitutional order. He does not speak of a situation of violence. No-one perceived it, that is the reality, that which the learned prosecutor understands as a coup d'état. Passive resistance from citizens is incompatible with the notion of a public uprising."
Pina mentioned that, on 1-O over 2,000 polling stations were established to vote, and "only thirty or so experienced some kind of incident." The attorney pointed out that the climate in Catalonia is "peaceful" despite what some may say:
"In Catalonia there is peace. Let it be known, regardless of what the media or politicians who are only out for confrontation may say in an attempt to create this scenario."
Prove of this peace, he added, is that there were also demonstrations in favour of the unity of Spain in Catalonia in the Spring of 2017: "Could anyone conceive that, during an insurrectional period in which secessionist rebels are carrying out a coup in Catalan society, thousands of citizens opposing independence would be allowed to freely demonstrate on the streets of Barcelona without the slightest incident?"
He also reproached the prosecutor for speaking of a "different kind of rebellion" when crimes "are those classified in the Criminal Code". "We never hear of different kinds of homicide or different kinds of sexual assault," he pointed out.
In this regard, he asked if the violence required by the crime of rebellion can be "spitting" or "a disabled person kicking people on the ground":
"As we say in Catalonia, 'we are reaching the marrow of the bone'. What must violence be? Must violence, in a crime with sentences such as this, be the kind of violence proclaimed by the prosecutor? The violence to achieve the separation of part of the territory of a country is spitting, throwing a fence, 3 rocks falling on a newsagents and a disabled person kicking people on the ground? Is this the violence required to coerce the State? For God's sake!"
The attorney pointed out that the Criminal Code speaks of weapons, combat, troops, armed forces or fire.
All of the accused, except for Junqueras, following Pina's statement from the dock in the centre of the court.
Pina added that, in the four months of the trial, "if there is anything we have learned, is that these people [the accused] are peaceful people" and that, in any case, the violence on 1-O was that of "policemen who did not rise up to the task":
"How can they be accused of being the instigators of violent behaviour? Violence, pardon my saying so, was born on and created on 1st October in those places in which some police officers and some law enforcement corps did not rise up to the task."
In fact, he stated that the parties to the prosecution were unable to prove that citizens struck police officers on 1-O: "Prosecutor Zaragoza spoke of clashes. The court saw it. We spent two videos bored out of our minds watching videos. Where are the people hitting police officers?"
The "ridicule" of the prosecutions
Pina refuted the accusations of misuse of public funds and criminal organisation by listing evidence such as the "Enfocats" document, the Moleskine agenda or the registry of Catalans abroad, and he has deemed it "ridiculous" that they be included in the case:
"We are talking about the Youth Card. I do not know if it exists in Madrid, but it is for young people. To eat at McDonald's for half a Euro. That is what we are talking about, and you are relating it to the referendum. Summer camps, summer schools. Libraries. Telling you to look for things for the referendum is one thing, falling into ridicule is quite another."
With regard to "Enfocats", which he ironically defined as the "Holy Grail of the pro-independence movement", he stated that "nobody has any idea of what it is", and the Guardia Civil officers did not make "a single mention" of the fact that it circulated among the accused. "Let us apply common sense. If we create a document, wouldn't we circulate it among us?" he asked.
With regard to the advert with the train tracks, he implored that prosecutor Consuelo Madrigal believe him when he said it had "nothing to do with the Civisme campaign":
"I swear. Believe me. We do not know what else we can do, there is nothing else we can do. It has nothing to do with it. There was an agreement with the CCMA. There was no lucrum cessans. Ms. Prosecutor, with all due respect and affection: a political advert is worth no more money than a non-political one. It is not true. It is patently false. Therefore, do not attempt to confuse the court with falsehoods."
Prosecutors Consuelo Madrigal and Fidel Cadena, listening to Pina's speech
In what concerns Unipost, Pina pointed out that "it is not true" that citizens received letters calling them to participate in polling stations on 1-O. "And the prosecutor said so without blushing. If it had been so, would they not have produced the evidence here?" he asked. Pina roundly stated that there was no "order, bill or expenditure" with Unipost:
"The postal service by Unipost for 1-O was not provided. And, if anything has been made clear in this trial, that is it. There was no order, no bill, there was no payment, and there was no obligation or commitment for expenditure, it was not assigned to the budget of the Generalitat and there was no service provided. And Jordi Turull is still being charged with a million Euros for Unipost? For the love of God."
"Is it normal to commit the crime of sedition and to announce it?"
Jordi Pina has questioned the evidence put forward by the State Attorney General against the former president of the ANC to describe him as one of the leaders of the rebellion. Specifically, the 2016 ANC roadmap which, he pointed out, did not give rise to any questions in the Prosecutor's questioning of his client which now appears in the final report:
"It cannot be that a document that appears in the case and on which the accused has not been questioned be used as an argument to accuse and condemn someone. That is to break the rules of the game and leads to obvious defencelessness."
He also defended that, on 1-O, Jordi Sànchez was "just another citizen" because he had not received an injunction from the High Court of Justice of Catalonia or from the Constitutional Court. "This is not worth going over any further. The referendum was called and organised by the Generalitat and by mister Puigdemont. Not by Jordi Sànchez or the ANC", he said.
On 20-S, the attorney stated that, throughout the entire day, there were "appeals to calm" and "nothing inciting to violence". Pina explained that, in a demonstration with 20,000 people, "not a single dustbin" was damaged, and he pointed out ironically:
"Is it normal to go commit a crime of sedition and to notify the authorities? That is what happened. Has anyone seen those committing the crime appearing and organising police actions?"
He also regretted the damage to the Guardia Civil vehicles while specifying that they were "the exception" to a long history of peaceful and civic demonstrations in the pro-independence movement:
"The ANC channels the power of citizens through an association that has flawlessly, with the sole and damned exception, which I will ever curse, of those four bad eggs who indecently damaged some Guardia Civil patrol cars. This isolated, specific action by some evil people has damaged years and years of civic behaviour in Catalonia, leading me to have to defend 16 and 17 years in prison before this Court and to hear my clients be accused of being violent people."
Pina admitted that the current member of parliament for JxCat became "nervous" or was "haughty" at some points in front of the Economy building, but he asked "if that justifies demanding 17 years in prison."
The attorney accused the court clerk of Court 13 of Barcelona, Montserrat del Toro, of having lied to the Court when she spoke of an "attempted assault" against the Economy building, or when she said "changes in the guard could not be carried out." There was "shouting", at the most, he said.
Pina reminded that it was even said that paper aeroplanes were being thrown, "and the person who signed a report with that did not even blush."
The Court listening to Pina's arguments
The attorney reminded that Jordi Turull has spent more time on remand than he spent as Minister of the Presidency.
He pointed out that he is linked to bills that were paid "in March and in April", when he was not appointed minister until July 2017. And he defended that there is nothing bad in the fact that, in late 2016, Turull met with Marta Rovira or Raül Romeva, taking into account the political situation at the time in Catalonia:
"There are quite a few visionaries in this day and age. Meetings from 2016... Why wouldn't they meet? Politicians meet with politicians. The learned prosecutors have not been listening. There was a vote of no confidence, the budget was not approved. Is it not reasonable that he met with his colleagues to discuss such an important subject?"
He also denounced the "defencelessness" caused by not knowing "which of Turull's statements" caused "unease among the Mossos", as prosecutor Jaime Moreno stated. "The State Attorney General's Office has been unable to state which interview or comment we are talking about."
16 in prison for the "cockiness" of a tweet by Rull
With regard to Josep Rull, the defence counsel ironically stated that they should be speaking of "maritime law", because the State Attorney General states that he did not allow the police ships to dock in Palamós harbour. Pina believes the trial has proven that that is not the case and he attributed a tweet by the Minister bragging about it to "cockiness":
"Four months in court have been useless," he lamented. "We could say that you did not like the tweet, but he is right, the vessel did not dock for technical reasons. We have provided the maps, the two ships did not fit. I do not know what else we could provide," he stated. And he concluded that the Prosecution is clinging to a "cocky" tweet to ask for 16 years in prison for Rull:
"In fact, what the State Attorney General is using is, if I may, and pardon me, Josep, is a bit of cockiness in a tweet. "We did not allow them to dock". It may have more than one reading, but really, in the 21st century, in a democratic state, is the State Attorney General asking for 16 years in prison for a man for a tweet in which he says he did not allow a ship to dock? This is severe. I would laugh were it not so serious."
A final message to the defendants
Pina's closing words were addressed to the defendants:
"And the 3 or 4 last words, if I may, will be to thank my three friends. Josep, Jordi and Jordi, this has been an honour and, regardless of what the sentence may be, rest assured that you are men of peace."
After his statement, the attorney asked for the acquittal of Sànchez, Turull and Rull in writing.
- Catalan independence trial