One of the main members of the People’s Party (PP) in Catalonia to go on trial for xenophobia

17.04.2013
Source: Catalan News Agency

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Xavier García Albiol, the Mayor of Badalona – Catalonia’s third largest city and attached to Barcelona – will go on trial accused of the felonies of provocation of hate, discrimination and violence as well as of collective provocative slander.
On Friday the judge announced she was opening a trial against García Albiol. In a court order dated the 8th of April, the judge considered the accusations formulated by the prosecution – who are asking for one year in prison and an €8,100 fine – and the particular accusation – which is carried out by the anti-xenophobia NGO SOS Racisme – to be “solid and consistent”. In 2010, a few months before the last municipal elections, García Albiol distributed leaflets that allegedly related Romanian immigrants to crime. During the electoral campaign, he mostly focused his speech on fighting crime and stopping “illegal immigration” in Badalona, a working-class city at the core of Greater Barcelona that has some neighbourhoods with considerable social problems and high immigration rates. The campaign created a huge controversy in Catalonia and many accused him of xenophobia.

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However, the People’s Party (PP) was the most voted-for, although with far from an absolute majority. He became the Mayor of Badalona and for the first time ever the People’s Party obtained the mayorship of one of the Catalonia’s top 20 most populated cities. García Albiol held a press conference on Friday evening and he considered it to be “obvious” that the trial “is a political” persecution against him. The Mayor argued that “we are talking about facts” and he insisted that “nobody is persecuted [in Badalona] for their nationality”. He also said it was suspicious that the complaint was filed just before the 2010 Catalan elections. SOS Racisme celebrated the fact that García Albiol is to be put on trial. García Albiol considers the issue to be “a political denunciation” against him (read more)