WE DENOUNCE: The blocking from European courts that the Spanish Constitutional Court imposes upon us
Access to the courts without delay or unnecessary obstacles is a right that every person has. Making it difficult to exercise this right with full guarantees and on fair conditions can lead to irreparable injury and damage to fundamental rights.
The case being brought by the Spanish State for the October 1 2017 Referendum demonstrates a whole set of infringements of our fundamental rights, including the presumption of innocence, freedom, political rights and the due process of law. Violations of the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are very prominent in many of the rulings issued against us by both the Supreme Court and the National Court since October 16 2017, when the first pre-trial detention orders were issued.
Our determination to have a fair, lawful trial is stronger than ever. We have not ceased to appeal to the courts against all the violations of our rights that the Spanish courts have committed. But today it is in the international courts, and especially the European Court of Human Rights, that we deposit our trust to obtain justice.
However, the Constitutional Court (CC) is blocking our access to European justice. The action of the CC is as simple as it is blatant: to admit 100% of our appeals for constitutional protection of our fundamental rights, without resolving any of them afterwards. According to the CC’s official data, only between 1% and 1·5% of the total number of appeals for protection that are presented to it are admitted. In our case, they have admitted 100% of them, only to forget them in a drawer. Spanish legislation (the Criminal Procedure Act) and the doctrine of the CC lay down that appeals against pre-trial detention orders have to receive preferential processing and must be resolved within a 30-day deadline. The first appeal for constitutional protection of our fundamental rights that was admitted by the CC against the pre-trial detention order, issued by the Spanish National Court (NC), was filed on November 22 2017, more than 365 days ago. This is an unjustified delay, and more so if we bear in mind the records of several express resolutions resolved by the CC, when it has even met during a weekend and/or just 24 hours after its intervention being requested.
We underline the need for an impartial and diligent CC, which does not impede the exercise of our rights. We denounce the de facto blocking, imposed by the Spanish CCt, of our access to the European Court of Human Rights. We reaffirm our determination, in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, to fully exercise our defence rights. We shall never relinquish our right to a fair trial.
We do not ask the CC for any treatment of favour. But we do not passively accept any discrimination or unwarranted procrastination. The question is not even for the Court to rule in our favour, but simply for the appeals presented to be unblocked (by not being admitted or by being turned down). Only in this way will the road to access European justice be opened to us. We are well aware that the longer it takes for us to access the European Court of Human Rights, the longer regaining our freedom will be delayed.
The blocking from European courts that the CC imposes upon us. And we do so with all the strength and dignity of a line of political action rooted in non-violence. One of the few legitimate forms of protest that being imprisoned allows us is to undertake a hunger strike.
We are doing this not against anyone, but rather in order to stir people’s conscience and foster action to prevent something that is not normal being accepted as normal. The irregular functioning of the CC is of unequivocal gravity for the rule of law. And this ought to reach out to all democrats of whatever political credence.
We ask for the attention and support of all democratic people in Catalonia, Spain, Europe, and the world. We invite people to stick to the civic, peaceful behaviour that has made us so strong over these years. We urge the “Smiling Revolution” to flourish afresh, by means of events that will continue to be held in Catalonia in the form of concentrations, “yellow dinners”, and concerts in the coming days and weeks. And we also ask our hunger strike not to alter the spirit or celebrations that on these dates, close to Christmas and the New Year, mean to the vast majority of us.
Finally, we are grateful for the solidarity of all women and men who feel themselves called and committed to the effective defence of personal and collective rights and liberties.
All together, with our heads high, till freedom is achieved!
Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull
Lledoners Prison, December 1, 2018