Case 17

Tamara Carrasco

Tamara Carrasco, activist of the CDR of Viladecans: "my jail is twenty square kilometers."

On October 8, her lawyer, Tamara, and her support group, convened a press conference where they disclosed a National Court’s interlocutory decree dated October 2, that stated that they will maintain the precautionary measures on Ms. Carrasco because “the activity of the CDR continues which has not stopped for the moment”. 

Description

On April 10, 2018, Spanish Civil Guard officers knocked at the door of Tamara Carrasco’s home in order to search the place. The officers confiscated various materials before arresting her on charges of sedition, rebellion and belonging to a terrorist organization. On the basis of these charges, Tamara Carrasco was transferred to Madrid. There, she was placed at the disposal of the National Court, a special court that acts as an heir of the Francoist “Public Order Court” and is used to oversee cases of terrorism. It subsequently ordered her detention.

On October 8 2018, Tamara, along with her lawyer and her support group, convened a press conference where they disclosed a National Court decision dated October 2. The decision stated that the cautionary measures on Ms. Carrasco would not be lifted as “the activity of the CDR continues and has not stopped up to now”.

Tamara Carrasco / Adrià Costa

Before

Tamara Carrasco took part in the activities of the Republic Defence Committee (CDR) of her city, Viladecans. The CDR are groups of local assemblies whose aim is to promote and defend the proindependence movement through a strategy of non-violence.Within the committee, she participated in pro-republican actions of peaceful protest and particularly against the imprisonment of Catalan pro-independence politicians.

 

At home, Tamara had a variety of CDR material: posters, shirts, yellow ribbons, whistles and a cardboard mask with the face of Jordi Cuixart (one of the jailed pro-independence activists). The confiscated materials also included a Google Maps itinerary that, according to Ms. Carrasco, had been organised in order for her to find a Barcelona-based Civil Guard police station that was to be the focus of a demonstration.

 

All this material was confiscated by the Civil Guard. Recordings on her WhatsApp account that referred to protest actions aimed at paralysing the country (road cuts and blocking access to market places) were taken as well. These recordings were immediately leaked to the media in the hope of fuelling a terrorist narrative against independence. In no case was there evidence of any terrorist or even violent action committed by Ms. Carrasco.

The outcome

Forty-eight hours after the detention of her arrest, Judge Diego de Egea – a judge from the Military Juridical Corps who was appointed as a judge in support of court no. 6 of the National Court – dictated the provisional release of Ms. Carrasco. The judge’s interlocutory decree questioned the accusations of rebellion, sedition and terrorism held by the public prosecutor. Subsequently, it imposed on Tamara Carrasco the ban on leaving her municipality, except to go to work. In addition, it enforced an obligation to report every week to the nearest court, which is located in the nearby city of Gavà.

Tamara Carrasco arrived back from Madrid with legal accusations that were not supported by any hard evidence. On October 8, with her lawyer and her support group, Tamara held a press conference where they disclosed a National Court’s decision dated October 2. The court stated that it would maintain the cautionary measures on Ms. Carrasco because “the activity of the CDR continues and has not yet stopped”. At this press conference, Benet Salellas (Tamara Carrasco’s lawyer) denounced “the grave violation of fundamental rights that denying her freedom because of what other people do entails.” According to Mr. Salellas, this decision “blows up the foundations of the very rule of law and the principle of protecting citizens’ fundamental rights that ought to govern it.”

A few weeks later in early November – the inability of the prosecutionto prove the initial accusation of terrorism during the six month confinement of Ms. Carrasco – Judge De Egea issued a new decision, withdrawing from the case. He did not however transfer it to a specific court, but did so in a generic way that allowed the chief courts of Barcelona, Lleida, Tarragona and Girona to decide.

The decision to not specify a court to which the case should be transferred left Ms. Carrasco in limbo. Not only did it prevent her from having an effective investigating court before which to put forward her defence, but also denied any opportunity for the ban on leaving her municipality to be lifted.

During this time, the National Court – being the only competent court which the lawyer could approach – was again asked to lift the cautionary measures, and it refused to do so. Again, the decision was made on the sole grounds that “the facts are very serious”. Tamara Carrasco remained unaware of the offences she is alleged to have committed.

On 16 January 2019 (the same day that sixteen independence activists, including two mayors, were detained illegally in Girona) she ascertained – through the press – that her case was being taken up by a Gavà court and that she was not even accused of public disorder. Later, a Barcelona court also claimed her case. Currently, she is still to receive any official news from these specific courts.

Her confinement was not lifted for her to attend her best friend’s wedding, or even to let her visit her mother in hospital when she had an accident.

There was a large demonstration in her home town in April 2019, a year after her original detention.

Violated rights

The arrest of Tamara Carrasco, the circumstances in which it occurred, the disproportion between the crimes that were initially alleged and those that will eventually be taken to court, after months of confinement of the person accused, amount to the violations of several fundamental rights protected under articles 20, 21, 22 and 23 of the Spanish Constitution: those of association, freedom of speech, and freedom of participation in public affairs. These rights are also protected under articles 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and articles 19, 22 and 25, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations (PIDCP), both ratified by Spain.

Moreover, the legal status of Tamara Carrasco, who for months was not assigned a specific court in charge of investigating her case, is a violation of the right to effective judicial protection enshrined in article 24 of the Spanish Constitution. This same right is also protected, in different terms, in article 14 of the ICCPR and article 6 of the ECHR. The article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also protects the right to a fair trial:  the right of any person to have an impartial, public trial and within a reasonable time, with a competent, independent and neutral court determined by law, in which the presumption of innocence and the corresponding procedural guarantees are respected. Thus, the fact that Ms. Carrasco has not been assigned a competent court goes against the provisions of the Spanish Criminal Procedure Act in articles 15, 18 and 25.

Ms. Carrasco’s confinement in her town of residence restricts the freedom of movement that article 19 of the Spanish Constitution recognizes and grants to all citizens.

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