Vox requests a ban on yellow ribbons in the Supreme Court, Marchena refusesThe presiding magistrate has not upheld the request because "it is an ideological symbol"
Josep Maria Camps
After the State Attorney General and Government Attorney had made their statements, the floor was given to the private prosecution exerted by far-right party Vox.
Before opening his statement, the attorney for this party, Pedro Fernández, requested that the court ban yellow ribbons in the courtroom due to the fact that "they are unquestionably politically loaded":
"May it please the Court, I would like to raise a court of order that affects respect and consideration towards justice. This is not only due to the case I will expound on, but also with regard to future sessions. I believe that it is important for the Court to establish a standard. Both yesterday and today, one of the accused is in Court visibly wearing an ornament that represents a yellow ribbon which is unquestionably politically loaded."
Fernández was referring to the yellow ribbon worn by Jordi Sànchez:
"An ideological symbol"
The presiding magistrate, Manuel Marchena, has not upheld the request:
"The Court interprets it as an ideological symbol and, in consequence, it will not prevent the accused from using the symbol which, as you have stated, one of the accused is displaying."
Marchena has said that he "does not object" to the defendants wearing yellow ribbons, and he has referred to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights regarding cases in Belgium and in Bosnia Herzegovina:
"In both cases, both in Belgium and in Bosnia Herzegovina, they were condemned for not allowing the use of symbols which were deemed by the Courts to be religious symbols at the time. It is true that this is not a religious symbol, but they hold the exact same axiological rank in the European Convention on Human Rights: religious and ideological symbols."
Legal limits to freedom of expression
Fernández has made a rather short statement in which he defended that Felipe VI should not give testimony as a witness in the trial:
"The Constitution guarantees the inviolability of the king, and that his why his presence in this Court is not relevant."
The attorney for Vox has likewise stated that there are legal limits to freedom of expression, and that one of these limits is questioning the unity of a state:
"Article 10. 2 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms establishes that freedom of expression in democratic societies must be subject to the limits imposed by territorial integrity, public safety and the defence of order, and, therefore, this Convention is directly referring to the limits that are to be applied whenever fundamental rights are invoked, namely, in this case, freedom of expression."
Point 10.2 of the European Convention of Human Rights establishes that states "may subject" freedoms "to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties":
" The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.."
"Freedom is the right to do what is permitted by the law"
Like the prosecutors, Fernández has also made reference to the ruling of the Court of Schleswig-Holstein that refused the extradition of Carles Puigdemont.
In this regard, he has stated that the defence counsels cannot use it to "allege a violation of fundamental rights":
"The matter under consideration was a crime that could justify extradition, an arrest warrant, similar to the crime of high treason. This sentence can likewise not be brought to these proceedings to allege a violation of fundamental rights."
"We started by stating that freedom is the right to do what is permitted by the law. The accused have been exerting their rights in a manner that is not permitted by the law. We are not faced with a violation of fundamental rights, but with the unlawful conduct of the accused. This justifies the dismissal of their previous legal issues."
- Catalan independence trial