By: Andrés Barnils and Adiva Koenigsberg
10/19/2019 9:50 PM
Interview with Joaquim Forn’s lawyer to assess the ruling of the Spanish Supreme Court
Xavier Melero is the lawyer of Joaquim Forn and one of the most shining men during the trial in the Spanish Supreme Court. People followed the interventions of this renowned criminalist with interest. But in the end his client has been sentenced to ten and a half years in prison. To make an assessment, VilaWeb interview them Thursday in his office of the Diagonal of Barcelona, and he met a Melero who accepts that the strategy he used has not worked, but says he does not know how to use another. He defends, and will defend, the technical path. Melero believes that the sentence has been unfair, and therefore will appeal. But at the same time he believes that the trial has been fair, that the controversy of the videos does not matter, that Spain is a perfectly comparable state to any other, and is very critical, as always, with the independence movement, which he does not share in no way. And less the manifestations of these days of rejection of the sentence.
-How has the sentence affected you?
-A lawyer that defends a thesis, and sees that it is not collected by the Court, the first thing he has to do is an examination and assess whether the Court has made the judgment it had to do. I think it did. Then ponder what other interpretive factors from the Court have made that the reason is not finally given to you.
-You follow a technical strategy and the answer is political. The 9-N has already passed. Why has your strategy not worked?
-It is the essential question. It is the fundamental question. To begin with, I cannot make any defense that is not technical. It is not within my reach. I don’t think they exist, political defenses. The trial is a perimeter designed for professionals to make a legal debate and reach a technical solution. If someone violates this rule, wrong. But I won’t do it. There are collusion strategies and rupture strategies. Rupture would be the lawyers of Batasuna. And then there are debate strategies on legal background. And these strategies I must recognize that in this case they have not given the performance that I expected. But I also have to say that I am unable to follow any different strategy.
-At least we accept that the other party plays politically, and not technically.
Accept that the
other party plays politically. And? Where does this take us?
-To change strategy?
-No. There’s no more. It is impossible. The part that supposedly plays politically has the power. The part that defends the technical argument has only that. It does not have any type of power: power is nothing more than the possibility of imposing a certain regulatory framework forcibly.
-When the defense lawyer says: ‘We are in a state of law, and this is a fair trial’, it makes the trial fair. You could have gone out to say: ‘This is not a fair trial, no facts are judged, and a political attack is made against my client.’
-No. I keep
saying it: this is an homologous state of law, and it can be subjected to all
the criticisms to which states of our environment can be subjected. And the
trial, in the formal dimension, of conducting the debate, and of the ordering
of the practice of the test, has been a fair trial.
-They didn’t even watch the videos when he played.
-Again with the videos! The videos were irrelevant in my point of view. Here it happens that you do not agree with my defense thesis.
-True. The question is why do you agree, if it turns out that it has not worked.
-Let’s see: it has not worked as for the objective of the defense. It has had small partial successes, the result is not satisfactory. But I insist, the technician cannot do anything more than that. You can get up and say: ‘This is not a fair trial’, and leave, like Batasuna’s lawyers. But this was not the move my client wanted. We wanted to defend ourselves with all the elements within reach.
-Ten and a half years.
-An injustice. Like so many that occur in all courts of Spain and Europe, every day.
– Why do you think he has been convicted with ten and a half years in prison?
Because they consider that the violence that came as a result of hindering the activity of the judicial commission on 20-S, and the impediments to the agents of the authority on October 1 was incited by the members of the government, who knew that this could lead to clashes, that will end in violence. They have been condemned for it.
-That’s the excuse. They have been imprisoned by the referendum and the DUI. If they do the same to stop an eviction, they are not put in prison for ten years. And they would have stopped the judicial process as well.
-That is why I say that the sentence is unfair. For a public order phenomenon, is oversized with an absolutely disproportionate penalty. The reasoning of the ruling of the Supreme should have led to appreciate what the Court says, according to it: several crimes of public disorder.
-I am amazed that you think they have been locked up in jail for facts. It is political.
– Behind all this, probably, at some point, in the mind of someone in their Cenacles, there have been political contamination. But my point of view is that this is conjecture, and with it I cannot work. I am not a politician. I have been charged with a professional defense and have defended it as well as I could.
-‘You told me halfway through another interview: “If Spain does not make an effort, people like me will have to be the first and most loyal citizens of the new Republic”. Spain has made the effort?
-No. Spain has not done so. Spain is politically convulsed. We have been in a difficult political trap for some time and the leadership crisis, which seems to be subject to a process of negative selection of elites, is very worrying. The attitude of Spain is deeply disappointing. Catalonia has not done it either, the effort.
-And now you will be a loyal citizen of the new Republic, then?
-This moment is still to come. We’ll see. At the moment there is no Republic.
-Someone could eat home for Christmas, you said Wednesday in RAC1.
-I said there is a legal possibility. It is. And that the penitentiary regulation allows them to access 100.2 immediately. And even to the third penitentiary degree. This is so. To all. But I don’t think they will spend Christmas day at home. I do not think so. And I would not advise. I prefer, so as not to provoke anyone, so as not to move even more a very volatile panorama, so that the landing strip is long and smooth. That the process that takes them to the open regime and at the exits of the center is done in a staggered manner. It should not rush. Officials should not be compromised. If they have the treatment meeting in November, let it be done. Do not anticipate.
-What defeat: to want free to think openly.
-It’s a defeat. But you see what the Madrid press says. That the Marchena is a kind of pro-independentist monster that has slapped the prosecution in the face. The extremes see in it Pyrrhic defeats.
-Laura Masvidal, Forn’s wife, said you were sunk, and you wanted to leave all.
-I was very affected. I lived it as a failure. I was not happy with this sentence. And I lived it in a vis a vis with families.We were all together. And of course, the children, the women, the emotional climate affected me. They were much more whole, Forn than me. Rull and Turull were much more lively, positive and constructive than me. Leave it? No. You always think that. Professionally it goes through your head. But no. I will not.
-Professionally, you shined so brightly in the room that you dragged all the defenses towards your line.
-No. I do not believe that the other defenses, beyond rhetoric, lead to breakdown strategies. I made my judgment. And in this the lawyer before the trial is a pretty lonely guy. Pretty solipsist.
-In Germany, rebellion and sedition were ruled out. Wouldn’t it have been better to insist on this fact?
-That was said to boredom. The only thing left to do was to hung up it by the toga: it was alleged in writing, it reached the Supreme Appeals Chamber, it was said in previous matters. What else had to be done? You can imagine a scenario in which one gets up, starts screaming there in the middle, it’s breaking, I didn’t follow. You are evicted from the room and the show is over.
– I insist: if the defense lawyer considers this rule of law good, it gives strength to the rival.
-No. And I don’t defend a revolutionary process that I don’t participate in. And in which I do not believe. I defend the position of my client, according to him.
-What steps will you do now?
-There are those who have filed appeals for clarification, which I will not do. We will immediately make a procedure called nullity, before the Supreme itself. It would imply that a new sentence should be made. Violations of fundamental rights are reported, which emerge with the sentence. The most obvious is the limitation of the right of manifestation, of the right of expression, with which the limits of the crime of sedition are extended extraordinarily.
Now change your strategy: go to fundamental rights, which you had not denounced until now.
-Sorry, I said that at first I played what I played. That it was not the moment of this route. Now begins first to the Supreme and then in the Constitutional Court. And I don’t think they will give it to me. Normally it never thrives. And they send you to the Constitutional Court.
-Will you go in Europe?
– I have said it of the right and the reverse. I will go where it is needed for the benefit of my client. I don’t know how we will do it. Maybe it’s time to unify resources.
– These days there are demonstrations to request the freedom of political prisoners. Have you gone anywhere?
-Do not. I will not go. I do not want to manifest. I work for the freedom of these prisoners. I resist using the qualifications of political prisoners. They are prisoners. All prisoners have the same dignity and the same rights. The fact that they are active politicians does not give them a plus with respect to others. Prisoners who I think have an unfair situation, which is not adequate. And I will not participate in these manifestations that have complementary ideological content – beyond solidarity with prisoners – that I do not share. And much less when these demonstrations serve as cover and alibi of abuses of right of demonstration that are very dangerous in the interests of the prisoners themselves.
-And police abuse: today [Thursday 17] we have lost eyes, 40% of some lost testicles, and four more people in prison.
-The police abus is reactive. Those with public responsibilities, such as those who communicate, would do very well to warn people that the occupation of critical infrastructure such as the airport carries very serious penalties. And that certain incidents such as those that occur, after the 2015 reform, can lead to sentences between 5 and 8 years in prison. And that this is not free. And I doubt that it benefits the prisoners, and I doubt that it benefits Catalonia.
-Oh, the pact. Always the pact. Now we agree?
-Someone has to be, right?
-You and I don’t agree, Mr. Melero. And nothing happens.
-Nothing has ever happened to people with whom I disagree. In fact, I work with them very closely.
-As the English say: we agree that we do not agree.
-And with it where do we arrive?
-At the end of the interview
-This has been a third grade.