Following yesterday's gathering of supporters for Judge Baltasar Garzón, which included film-maker Pedro Almodóvar and former Catalan president Pasqual Maragall amongst other well-known figures, the governing body of Spanish judges said that it was concerned about the attacks on the Supreme Court that had come out of the meeting (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The Consejo General del Poder Judicial (General Council for Judicial Power, or CGPJ) expressed its “concern and sadness” about the systematic criticisms of the court being voiced in light of the case brought against Garzón for his efforts to investigate crimes carried out during the Franco dictatorship. This statement came a short while after Federico Trillo, the Justice spokesman for the Spanish opposition party, the Partido Popular, demanded that the CGPJ ensure that the Supreme Court is given its due respect following the “outcry” voiced at the act in Garzón’s favour organised by trade unions UGT and CCOO. “Without prejudice towards the legitimacy of criticising judicial resolutions,” the CGPJ statement said, “the discrediting of the State of Law as happens with gatherings such as [this one] are not to be tolerated.” The act in support of Garzón was held in the Medical Faculty of the Madrid Universidad Complutense and included a speech by the former Spanish head of anti-corruption, Carlos Jiménez Villarejo, accusing magistrates of the Supreme Court of being an instrument of “the current expression of Spanish facism”, for accepting the lawsuits of the Falange Española (the party of Francisco Franco) and the ultra-right union Manos Limpias against Garzón.
Neighbours of the Raval neighbourhood have voiced their disappointment in the punishments meted out to two young men who threatened resident Eduard Elias (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Elias, who lives in Carrer Santcliment, and others from the Raval had hoped that an example would be set in the treatment of the two accused if found guilty, as they were, to try to bring about an improvement of conditions in the city centre area. However, one of the two found guilty was ordered to pay a fine of €90 while the other was sentenced to two fines totalling €180. “On hearing the sentences, the impotence that I already felt has multiplied,” said Elias afterwards. He added that the situation in the street of Santcliment is "worse than ever”: there are two groups of young men who use it throughout the day for the consumption and sale of drugs, and that it seems their numbers are increasing. Neighbours say that their activities are very evident and that they often see people waiting around to buy drugs if no one from either of the groups happens to be there. Lola Izquierdo, a member of the group Raval per Viure (Raval for Living) said that the sentence was ridiculous and showed that it was very “cheap” to threaten a resident: instead she said, what the neighbourhood needs is that the law gets applied with maximum rigour to set an example. Like others in the area, she doesn’t think that the problem is a lack of police in the Raval but a lack of toughness when it comes to following the letter of the law.
The Catalan and Spanish governments yesterday warned the town council of Vic that it runs the risk of acting illegally if it carries out its decision to report to Spanish state authorities those immigrants who register with it (empadronar) that don’t have the necessary paperwork for living in Spain (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The Generalitat councillor for Public Works, Joaquim Nadal, spoke on behalf of the government to say that the decision of the council (ajuntament) would mean it acting without being sheltered by the law. Both Nadal and the secretary for Immigration, Oriol Amorós, noted that in all legal processes in which census information is provided to the state, it is the latter that has to actively request information, rather than it being voluntarily provided by local councils. Spanish vice-president, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, also said that the central government doesn’t agree with the decision of Vic council in this matter and revealed that the judicial services of the state would be studying the measure to release a report about it. Meanwhile, Catalan opposition leader Artur Mas retaliated against claims of division in his CiU party over the matter, saying that any CiU councils or mayors were free to decide whether or not to denounce illegal immigrants living in their town because there was not a common party policy on the issue.
Also in the news: Constitutional Court to meet to discuss Catalan statute (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Threatened strike by second division footballers called off as union earns promise of outstanding salaries to be paid (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Rise in pickpockets in Barcelona as good weather and high season for tourists approach (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia).