September 1, 2017
The death toll from the vile attacks which rocked Catalonia two weeks ago has now risen to 16, as some of the most gravely injured have succumbed to their wounds. Troubling details about the background of the alleged ringleader of the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils continue to emerge. Questions remain about the level of information sharing between central and regional police authorities, and international security agencies.
Against this backdrop, there have been worrying attacks in the media – including in national broadsheets and on mainstream TV channels – against lawyers who defend people accused of terrorism. Some of the shrillest accusations – calling them “ethically reprehensible”, or pointing to their “professional connections with alleged jihadists” – have centered on two lawyers who have represented defendants in terrorism proceedings, including the suspected ringleader of the Barcelona attack as well as people arrested in previous counterterrorism operations in Catalonia in 2006 and 2008.
The media attacks are laden with politics; both lawyers have since been elected representatives of the left-wing parties Barcelona in Common and Popular Unity Candidacy, the latter of which favors Catalan independence. One is a deputy mayor of Barcelona, and the other is a deputyin the Catalan parliament. The upcoming referendum on the region’s future is bitterly disputed in Spain.