Francesc Fàbregas, the editor of El Vallenc, a local newspaper in the town of Valls (Catalonia), yesterday exercised his right not to answer police questions on three criminal charges related to the Catalan referendum process, the newspaper said in an article.
He did make a statement to the waiting media as he left the Civil Guard station in Tarragona shortly before 9 p.m.
"Today has been one of the most difficult days in the 29 years we have been publishing this local and regional weekly. To see so many people who love you and stand by you with their support is very nice. To see that you are not alone, that is the important thing."
The details of the investigation are secret, a spokeswoman for the Catalan regional High Court told The Spain Report on Saturday, but the charges —contempt, misuse of public funds and abuse of authority—are related to the referendum process, not freedom of speech.
They are the same three criminal charges the public prosecutor's office filed against the First Minister of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, and his entire government, and the Speaker of the Catalan parliament, on Friday.
On Saturday morning, after Civil Guard agents turned up at the newsroom with a warrant from a judge, Mr. Puigdemont expressed his support for El Vallenc: "[the Civil Guard is] not looking for ballot papers, they are looking for trouble".
Catalan independence supporters quickly followed, brining flags, flowers and ballot boxes, and making sure to photograph it all to publish on social media. They sang Els Segadors, the Catalan anthem, for the officers guarding the entrance.
The Civil Guard had asked the prosecutor to petition the duty judge for a warrant on Friday night, in order to be able to search the company's registered offices.
The search was related to another one the previous day at a printing presses of another company, Indugraf, in the town of Constantí.
That company's registered offices were also searched on Saturday morning, again with a warrant from the same judge, as part of the same investigation.
The limited company that publishes the newspaper, El Vallenc SL, is also a printing shop. Descriptions of its printing activities could clearly be seen on images of its front window, posted by the newspaper itself and by people on social media to highlight the Civil Guard agents standing in front of it yesterday.
On April 6, 2017, El Vallenc SL increased its share capital by €180,303, according to an entry Spain's official corporate gazette. The entry did not provide details about the reason for the increase, or who provided the capital.
El Vallenc reported officers finished their search several hours after it began and removed "material and a computer".
The leading separatist parties and organisations called for a second protest outside the police station where El Vallenc's editor was questioned, and several dozen supporters responded, again waving flags and posing for the camera with ballot boxes. They sang "l'Estaca", a famous Catalan song for freedom written by Lluis Llach during the Franco era.
Mr. Llach is currently an MP in the regional parliament for Republican Catalan Left (Esquerra, ERC), which supports independence as part of the current governing coalition, Junts Pel Sí ("Together For Yes").
Also on Saturday evening, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange compared the situation in Catalonia and Spain with the Tiananmen Square massacre in communist China in 1989.
"Spain, this will not work in Catalonia. The Catalan people have a right to self-determination. Arrests only unify and strengthen them", he wrote on Twitter.
Arturo Pérez-Reverte, the Spanish novelist who wrote the Captain Alatriste series and who is also a member of the Spanish Royal Academy, replied to him, in English: "The photo of the tanks shows that besides being ignorant about Spain and Catalonia you are a perfect idiot, Mr. Assange".
Published: 5:20 pm, Sep 10 2017 (link)
Editor Of El Vallenc Admits He Printed Ballot Papers For Referendum
The editor of the local Valls newspaper El Vallenc, Francesc Fàbregas, admitted on Sunday morning in statements made to journalists outside the newsroom that he had printed ballot papers for the October 1 independence referendum in Catalonia.
"If they have to be printed so that people go and vote, we will print them again", he said.
Pressed by a reporter if "you had done that", Mr. Fabregas then hesitated, before listening to his lawyer, standing next to him, and declining to confirm for a second time.
He also said that the Civil Guard had not removed any ballot papers from the company's offices "because they haven't found any".