The Catalan National Assembly and the Council for the Republic have organised a conference in Brussels to discuss the 2017 terrorist attacks in Catalonia, an event that had been cancelled by the Catalan government.
The conference ‘The Right to the Truth and terrorist attacks: defining boundaries’ took place yesterday in Brussels, with the participation of Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, full professor of Procedural Law and lawyer for the terror attack victims, and Nico Krisch, professor of International Law.
The president of the Catalan National Assembly, Dolors Feliu, denounced inaction of the Spanish government towards investigating the attacks. “We call on the Spanish authorities to finally give this matter the consideration it deserves and perform a thorough and impartial investigation on all the unknowns linked to the August 2017 attacks, and disclose the truth, once and for all”, Feliu stated.
In August 2017, the Catalan society was terrified when a jihadist drove a van into popular pedestrian tourist spot La Rambla in Barcelona, and other members of the terrorist cell did the same in a town further south. 16 were killed and more than 130 injured. The night before, an explosion in a house in the Catalan town of Alcanar when a bomb was accidentally detonated by terrorists from the same cell, killing them.
In 2022, former Spanish police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo suggested that the Spanish National Intelligence Service, who had the imam as a confidant, was aware of the attacks and that the Spanish authorities knew of Younes and of the attack plans beforehand. According to him, the authorities used the attack to hurt the Catalan independence movement which was at the time preparing the October 1st independence referendum.
Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas thus criticised the long list of unknowns and irregularities in this grievous affair. “We have to admit it, the investigation has been a huge failure, a total chaos”, he condemned, “The state secret services were partly responsible. The chief of the jihadists was very well known as an imam, and the secret services knew about him. It was quite unbelievable that they were not aware of these terrorist attacks”.
That is why a proper investigated is needed to shed some light on these unknowns. The victims and society deserve to know what happened. “The right to the truth is both a collective and individual right”, explained Nico Krisch, who was also very critical of the Spanish authorities’ response for “falling short on international rights”.
Spain has a responsibility to the victims and should get to the bottom of the affair, but sadly, the authorities don’t seem to be willing to do so. Since many of the victims of the tragedy were foreign nationals, this is a matter of global importance: the victims of the attacks deserve the truth, and their struggle needs to be transferred to Europe.
Yesterday’s conference was possible thanks to the joint effort of the Catalan National Assembly and the Council for the Republic, who did everything that was in their hands to make sure it would take place even after the Catalan government called it off. Assemblea will always stand by the interests of the citizens and defend the right to truthful information, especially when the government fails to do so.