Spanish activist Dani Gallardo’s pre-trial detention for over a year for demonstrating against the imprisonment of nine Catalan pro-independence leaders in October 2019 is an example of the Spanish state’s exemplary punishment policy against any support for Catalonia’s pro-independence movement.
This morning, at 9h, the Catalan National Assembly representation in Madrid was present at the protests in front of the Provincial Court of Madrid to support the 23-year-old Spanish activist Dani Gallardo as he faces six years of prison. His trial begins after over a year in pre-trial detention for demonstrating against the harsh prison sentences for Catalan civil & political leaders.
Despite not being able to be present there due to the current COVID19 pandemic restrictions, Assemblea President Elisenda Paluzie has showed her solidarity through video message. During her statement, she highlighted the massive injustice that represents a 6-year prison sentence “The Spanish repression also massively affects those few brave individuals of the Castilian people & the people of Madrid who have always stood up and shown solidarity with the cause of the Catalan people’s fundamental rights and its self-determination, and against the repression exercised against the Catalan national minority ”.
Further protests will take place during his trial in Madrid on Saturday the 14th and Tuesday the 17th of November, and on Saturday the 14th in Barcelona and Lleida (Catalonia). Daniel Gallardo’s imprisonment is part of a strategy of intimidation by the Spanish authorities to stop any signs of solidarity for the Catalan pro-independence movement.
His pre-trial detention during the COVID19 pandemic has posed a serious threat to his health, since Spain has refused to free political prisoners as requested by UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet earlier this year, calling for the release of “each and every person who is imprisoned without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained for having expressed critical or dissenting opinions,” as well as low-risk prisoners.
In this sense, Assemblea spurred a joint letter with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and over 30 current and former political prisoners from around the world to denounce such abuses.
Dani Gallardo’s case
ANC Madrid, together with a considerable representation of civil society groups sympathetic with the Catalan pro-independence cause, such as Movimiento Anti-Represivo de Madrid, Pro Amnesty Movement, IZCA and Coordinadora 25-S, organized a conference on his case during the Catalan Week, a two-week series of events organized in the run-up to the Catalan National Day on the 11th of September.
There, Marco Fernández, who represented the Movimiento Anti-Represivo de Madrid, stated that “[Dani’s] case is quite revealing, because this is about vengeance, about setting an example, through which to send a message of fear. Dani is in prison because the [Spanish] state couldn’t afford solidarity with Catalonia spreading further, especially here in the capital.”
Mr. Fernández added “In Spain, there are no judicial guarantees. Attending a demonstration can’t be a crime. Showing solidarity with a people who is struggling for their democratic right to self-determination cannot be a crime”