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Catalan town councils to sue over referendum violence

Three local authorities to launch lawsuit against October 1 police operation backed by 130 individual complaints of assault and injury

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19 October 2017 07:08 PM

by

ACN | Girona

Three town councils in the Girona area of Catalonia are preparing to file a joint lawsuit against those responsible for the police operation during the independence referendum on October 1.

With the help of volunteer lawyers, the local authorities of Girona, Sant Julià de Ramis and Aiguaviva intend to sue police officers, commanders and the politicians responsible for the operation.

The lawsuit is backed by some 130 complaints from individuals, who allege incidents of hate speech, sexual assault, injury and torture.

Legal spokesman, Albert Carreras, alleged that the police operation was politically motivated and targeted specific towns, such as the polling places were president Carles Puigdemont was to vote and the school his daughters attend.

  • “When a town of 3,500 inhabitants like Sant Julià is the first place police brutally intervene to prevent the Catalan president from casting his ballot, it is because the operation is politically motivated”

    Albert Carreras · Legal spokesman

“When a town of 3,500 inhabitants like Sant Julià is the first place police brutally intervene to prevent the Catalan president from casting his ballot, it is because the operation is politically motivated,” said Carreras.

The suit is expected to go to court on Friday or Monday at the latest.

Recognition of “wounded dignity”

Apart from the aim of securing “penal consequences” for those responsible for the brutality, the lawyers say the lawsuit is also to achieve recognition of the moral injuries caused by the operation.

“The public was profoundly shaken because people were hit, horrified and humiliated in order to stop them voting; that is why we demand recognition of their wounded dignity due to the events of October 1,” said Carreras.

In fact, more legal action is likely to follow relating to the material damage that Spanish National and Guardia Civil police caused to the public buildings used as polling places during the vote.

Girona city council is still taking stock of the damage caused, although Sant Julià de Ramis puts the cost of repairing the damage to its local sports hall at 13,600 euros, which includes the loss of computers seized by Guardia Civil officers.

“No separation of powers” in Spain

Girona mayor Marta Madrenas said the actions of the Spanish authorities against the independence referendum made it clear that in Spain “there is no separation of powers.”

In fact, Madrenas, along with the mayors of Aiguaviva and Sant Julià,  vowed to see the suit through to its end, even if it means bypassing the Spanish legal system and taking the case to the international courts, so that October 1 “is not forgotten” and justice can be served on those responsible for the operation.

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  • Spanish police officers in front of voters in Girona (by Carles Palacio)
  • Girona mayors at a meeting with lawyers and representatives of pro-independence organizations on Thursday (by Marina López)