Juan Ramón Rodríguez Fernández
Vught, end of November, 2002


The more things seemed to change
The more they stayed the same.
Harold Robbins

Juanra is in jail all over again. Thank God. And the Netherlands can sleep soundly again.

This past October 1, the court of Amsterdam delivered its endorsement of the extradition of the well-known Juanra, what is he now? an activist? a terrorist? or a Catalonian singer? Whatever the case, to everyone's amazement he stayed out of jail because according to these same judges who delivered the verdict, there existed not a single indication that he would try to escape justice. The whole country was speechless from this uncustomary decision.

To deal with the feelings of insecurity that Dutch society was experiencing as a result of this, the Ministry of Internal Affairs appealed the decision to the Seventh Criminal Chamber of the Court of Amsterdam. "Imagine, your Honors, the international outcry to which our country will be subject, when after a dangerous terrorist like Juanra is arrested, he is now set free and escapes?!" This fiery plea won over Judge Brilman, the chair of the panel of judges, who for his part found to lock the suspect up again. Anyway, what does it matter that he showed up for every summons that was served to him and that he has a steady place to live and stay in Amsterdam (the historic Vrankrijk, lodging house of violent radicals, as everybody knows). "The posting of 20 000 euros bail does not offer enough guarantees", as the brilliant scholar of law put it in his finding. And Juanra went back to jail, to the great relief of everyone.

Whatever the case, Mr Victor Koppe and his anti-Spanish friends (as officer of justice Ang Lee described them very acurately during the last court hearing) attempted yet again to sow unrest in public opinion, and appealed the decision. On November 5, 2002, the higher appeal was heard behind closed doors. "If 20 000 euros is not a sufficient guarantee, then we have the bank statements right here showing deposits of a total of 50 000 euros and the names of the Dutch people who have contributed to this sum, but if that does not yet inspire enough confidence, tell us under what sort of conditions my client needs to comply to be set free on bail again."

The defence was fiery and although it was well-argued, the officer of justice Ang Lee was decisive: "It is not about the money that you are making available, Juanra will remain in detention. Does this court wish to ignore the decision taken by the Seventh Criminal Chamber of the Court of Amsterdam?" Our heroine's plea was weak, this is true, but it did create the necessary intimidation effect and the terrorist, or activist, or the singer, what does it matter what he is, shall fortunately remain behind bars. In Vught, no less, on the grounds of the former Nazi concentration camp, magically transformed using social-democratic sorcery into the Nieuw Vossefeld Penitentiary Institution. In this way it is as if our country has buried the skeletons from the closet of its past.

And so it appears, dear readers, as if justice (without legal grounds, but who cares, anyways?) has finally ended the nightmare of Juanra freely walking the streets. The Netherlands can sleep soundly again: everything is completely under control again. Our centre-right governing coalitions will never have a crisis again; nor will another husband of whatever queen of the Netherlands die; and above all, above all we will never hear him say that provocative "Hasta la victoria siempre, Hasta la victoria siempre" ever again.