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Catalan jailed ministers suffered “unjustifiably vexatious” treatment, says lawyer

Alleged abuse includes ordering them to strip naked, playing the Spanish anthem on a loop, and handcuffing their hands behind their back

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05 November 2017 01:57 PM

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ACN | Madrid

The lawyers of imprisoned Catalan ministers are to file a complaint over the “unjustifiably vexatious” treatment their clients suffered as they were preemptively sent to jail by a Spanish judge on Thursday, pending possible charges over the October 27 declaration of independence.

According to attorney Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, the alleged abuses police officers inflicted on his defendants include handcuffing them behind their backs, as well as forcing them to listen to the Spanish anthem in loop on their way to prison without seat belt.

Two ministers were ordered naked “as if they were drug dealers,” Alonso-Cuevillas said in an interview with Catalan public TV on Saturday. According to medical reports, deposed Justice minister Carles Mundó suffered injuries due to the handcuffs.

  • “How can the Spanish government justify these actions while boasting about their respect for legality?” 

    Josep Lluís Cleries · PDeCAT spokesperson in the Senate

Spain’s political crisis peaked this past week as eight Catalan ministers — who had already been dismissed by the government in Madrid — were sent to prison on Thursday. They face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds, among others. On Friday, Spain’s National Court issued a European arrest warrant for the deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four ministers who are currently in Belgium.

 

"Get him on all fours"

As news of alleged mistreatment emerged, a Spanish newspaper posted a video showing Spanish National Police officers making fun of the ministers as they arrived in court. “When they get him on all fours, they’ll fix his eye,” said one police officer referring to vice president Oriol Junqueras. He referred to him as “little teddy bear.”

Alonso-Cuevillas labelled the conversation as “sad and outrageous.” The worst, he added, is that “I have not heard any official reaction yet. In any normal country, the Home Affairs minister would have resigned immediately.”

PDeCAT in Senate

The pro-independence PDeCAT party has indeed asked Spanish Home Affairs Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido to speak in front of the Senate about the alleged “vexatious treatment” by dismissed Catalan ministers. “How can the Spanish government justify these actions while boasting about their respect for legality?” said Josep Lluís Cleries, PDeCAT spokesperson in the Senate.

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  • Lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas visiting his defendants in prison (Roger Pi de Cabanyes)