Judicial proceedings would not have been undertaken against the Catalan City Councilor if he had not defended the independence project
It is so shocking that a European democratic state detain an elected official for having expressed his ideas in a plenary session of his municipal government that those who still believe in the democratic spirit of a constitutional Spain have rushed to find an explanation so as to not have to recognize this flagrant attack on the freedom of expression.
The argument that is serving to calm democratic consciences is that Joan Coma was not detained for his ideas but rather for refusing to go to Madrid to testify. But that is not true. It is not true, and it hurts: it blames the victim and distracts attention from the true fundamental problem.
A quick review: the man who instigated the investigation against Joan Coma is the extreme right winger Josep Anglada, former leader of the xenophobic “Plataforma x Catalunya” who denounced Coma to the Guardia Civil and added himself personally to the accusations. The Prosecutor “adjusted” the charges, and is investigating Coma for “alleged incitement of sedition” a crime which, according to the proseutor, the Vic city councilor would have committed in a city hall meeting in 2015 by uttering the phrase, “to make an omelette, you must first break the eggs”.
Anglada starts the ball rolling and the bowels of the State do the rest, like in a second rate cops and robbers movie: Judge Ismael Moreno, a former policeman from the Franco era who gained fame by detaining puppeteers, comes on the scene, picks up the gauntlet and wins points by joining a judicial crusade of Spanish institutions against sovereigntist elected officials.
But let’s be clear: no judicial proceeding would have been opened against Coma nor would he have even been called to testify had he not defended the independence of Catalonia.
And that is the root of the whole issue: whether Coma goes to testify or not is a minor procedural matter, what is really serious is that he be persecuted for expressing his ideas, whatever they may be. When they say that Coma is guilty of his very own detention, we are not only sidestepping the real cause of the accusations but we are playing into the hands of the extreme right, while we also paper over the ill health of the democracy of a State that long ago lost its way between judgements and tribunals.
Victims and Executioners
Let us not forget that the justice system that will judge Coma absolved his accuser, Josep Anglada, of a hate crime of incitement of racial hate for having distributed 3000 xenophobic pamphlets during the municipal elections of May, 2007. Victims are turned into executioners, and executioners into victims.
Yes, this Wednesday Vic City Councilor Joan Coma is [was] taken to the National Court in Madrid, and it’s no joke: a city councilor democratically elected at the polls has been detained solely for expressing his ideas as an elected representative in a municipal plenary session. That is why all democrats, and particularly those who believe in “Operation Dialogue”, must join together to keep the foundations of Spanish democracy from being weakened even further.
Marina Llansana Rosich
Marina Llansana Rosich has a degree in Philology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and one in Journalism from Pompeu Fabra University. She was a member of the Catalan Parliament for ERC and currently is a communications consultant, and works with various media organizations. She is part of the Drets [legal counsel] organization.
The original text was published in Spanish.