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announcement ought to be apparent. It is due to the international and essentially public character of agreements arranging for the flotation of foreign public bonds in the United States, and to the direct effect of such transactions upon the economic and political relations of the United States with the governmental borrowers. American bankers are not likely to be blind to this circumstance or to be indisposed to act in harmony with the wishes of the Government.

THE EXTRADITION OF THE ASSASSINS OF THE SPANISH PREMIER DATO BY THE GERMAN REICH (FORT

EXTRADITION CASE)*

BY DR. WOLFGANG METTGENBERG
Oberregierungsrat in the Ministry of Justice of the German Reich

In the evening hours of the 8th of March, 1921, the president of the Spanish Council of Ministers, Don Eduardo Dato, was assassinated as he was bound from the Senate for his home. From a motorcycle occupied by three persons, which followed the automobile of the Prime Minister, numerous shots were fired on the Plaza de la Independencia at the rear of the automobile, penetrating the wall and upholstery and wounding Dato so severely that he died upon entering the first aid station. The investigations soon showed that the act had been committed by members of the Sindicato Unico. As perpetrators of the deed especially Pedro Matheu, Ramón Casanellas Lluch, Luis Nicolau Fort and his wife Lucía Joaquina Concepción were sought, but the competent authorities assumed that the number of participants was far greater. Pedro Matheu was soon seized on Spanish soil and arrested in Madrid. The traces of the remaining participants led by way of Barcelona over the national boundary into France, Germany and Russia. Warrants issued on March 24 and 26, 1921, and notices requesting apprehension given on August 1, 1921, did not at first achieve their purpose. In France, certain suspects were seized, but they had to be released upon expiration of the maximum period for preliminary arrest provided for in Article 7 of the French-Spanish extradition treaty of December 14, 1877. Ramón Casanellas Lluch had been warned by the premature publication of the arrest of accomplices and he had succeeded in escaping to the territory of the Russian Socialistic Federal Soviet Republic. On the other hand, the German police, supported by the Spanish, found in a suburb of Berlin Luis Nicolau Fort and his wife Lucía Joaquina Concepción, who had arrived from Paris under a false name on October 25, 1921, and had found refuge with supporters of the Communist Party. On October 29 they were temporarily seized with a view to subsequent extradition under Article 9, paragraph 1, of the extradition treaty between Germany and Spain of May 2, 1878. Other Spanish nationals also suspected of being implicated in the assassination of Dato, who were likewise taken into preliminary custody, were later released in accordance with Article 9, paragraph 2, of the GermanSpanish treaty because the maximum period for temporary arrest expired

* Translated from the German by Mr. E. H. Zeydel, of Washington, D. C.

without the arrival of a demand for extradition from the Spanish Government.

Immediately after the temporary arrest of the married couple Fort, many indignant protests were raised in Germany and in Spain against the extradition of the prisoners to the Spanish Government. Especially the papers of the communistic party groups of Germany demanded the right of asylum for the fugitives in vociferous and violent articles. They all culminated in the assertion that the prosecuted persons were political refugees whose extradition was out of the question. For the legal consideration of the facts in the case these articles were of great value since they revealed how the fugitives and their party friends wished to have the assassination of Dato interpreted. Thus the Rote Fahne, the central organ of the Communist Party of Germany published in Berlin, wrote on November 3, 1921 (No. 504):

Never should the German proletariat permit the comrades Luis Nicolau Fort and Lucía Joaquina Concepción to be extradited to the Spanish hangmen. In the first place it has not been proved that the two Spanish comrades are guilty of the deed charged to them. But even if they participated in the execution of the death sentence of the former Spanish Premier Dato, they shall not be extradited.

Dato was responsible for the countless bloody deeds against Spanish workers that were perpetrated during his premiership. He was not only responsible for them, he was the soul of a terrible reign of terror against the Spanish proletariat, especially against the organized Spanish proletariat.

Dato was not murdered; he was sentenced to death by decision of the organized Spanish proletariat. For the Spanish trades unions knew of no other solution; since they did not have the power to carry out a revolution, they opposed the terror of the government and the capitalists with their own terrorism.

Those who carried out the death sentence against Dato acted out of a feeling of solidarity with the shamelessly oppressed and cruelly mal

treated Spanish proletariat. Their deed was a political one. In a protest meeting called by Berlin syndicalists it was stated on November 8:1

Premier Dato established a reign of terror such as even Spain had never before experienced. Acts of deportation, shooting and torture were committed without number. The shooting of Dato was an act of

necessity on the part of Spanish proletarians driven to desperation. Again, on February 1 it was stated in the Rote Fahne (No. 54):

The shooting of Dato was a political crime which was provoked by the shameful deeds

committed by the Spanish Government under the premiership of Dato against the Spanish proletariat. In such a case the Spanish-German treaty of extradition does not provide for the extradition of those implicated in the political offense.

* Compare Rote Fahne of Nov. 10, 1921, No. 512.

With these utterances of the German communists who took the side of the prisoners, the sentiments of their Spanish partisans, as communicated to Germany, agreed. The central office of the Communist Party of Spain in Madrid sent a letter on November 3, 1921, to the central office of the Communist Party of Germany in which, after repeating the reasons alleged for the commission of the act, the following appeal was made:

The Spanish Government demands the extradition of Nicolau and his wife. We know that the Communist Party of Germany will intervene strenuously in this matter. An immediate and decisive intervention on the part of the Communist Party of Germany might hinder the German Government from extraditing the accused to the Spanish Government.

It is not an offense against ordinary law, it is a political offense. The laws of extradition do not apply to political offenses.

The life of Nicolau and his wife, the freedom of many working comrades is in danger. You must save them. The Communist Party can act, it must act. Not only for reasons of solidarity, but also for political reasons which will have an important effect upon the develop

ment of the Communist Party of Spain. The National Confederation of Workers of Spain issued the following proclamation to all workers of Germany:3

Comrades! The Spanish Government has had the German police in Berlin arrest our comrades, Luis Nicolau Fort and Lucía Joaquina Concepción, who are suspected of being the originators of the political attack against the Spanish Premier Dato. The Spanish Government immediately made a demand for extradition, in order that they might be sentenced in Spain.

The German proletariat, the men with hearts and ideals, cannot permit such a violation of the international right of asylum for proletarian refugees by the democratic government. You must know, comrades of Germany, that for two years the organized proletariat of Spain is suffering from the same terrible White Terror as the Hungarian proletariat under the Horthy régime of violence. For two years our best fighters have been systematically murdered on the street when on their way home from work. By the thousands they are imprisoned, tormented, tortured in the prisons and police stations.

We do not know whether the arrested comrades really took part in the attack against Dato. But even if they were the perpetrators, their act must be considered political, as an answer to the many hundreds and thousands of victims murdered by the reactionary Spanish Government and the Spanish military. Workers, brothers in Germany, demand of the German Government that it shall not deliver the com

rades over to the executioner and the Spanish inquisitors. Meanwhile, the official treatment of the matter took its course. On November 7, 1921, the German Government received a request through diplomatic channels to extradite to the Spanish Government the Spanish nationals Luis Nicolau Fort and his wife Lucía Joaquina Concepción, who had been taken into preliminary custody. The request for extradition was based upon a warrant of the examining judge in Madrid, dated March 26, 1921, which contained the charge of murder against Fort in the sense of Article 418 of the Spanish Penal Code of June 17, 1870, and, with regard to his wife, the charge of participation in the murder. Besides this, the warrant contained a description of the more detailed circumstances of the assassination of Dato.

* Reprinted in the Rote Fahne of Nov. 13, 1921, No. 521. Ibid., No. 506.

The Spanish Embassy in Berlin supplemented these documents by pointing to the many newspaper utterances against extradition of the fugitives and using them as evidence of the necessity for their extradition. It emphasized the fact that Premier Dato was not murdered in the course of political disturbances of any kind, but that the assassination must rather be interpreted as a terroristic act of revenge. In Catalonia, it stated, the syndicalists had murdered hundreds of employers within half a year. Furthermore, when the originators of such assassinations had been arrested, they murdered, a few days later, the officials who had taken part in the arrest. They then murdered the judges who dared to sentence a perpetrator, and had also threatened the governors of the provinces with the same fate. The murder of the Premier, the embassy declared, was a link in the chain of these acts of violence, and it, too, had solely the purpose of intimidation. Besides, the embassy thought it incomprehensible that certain newspapers in Germany should describe the condition of the workingmen in Spain as desperate and Dato as their enemy, for it was stated that in Spain the greater part of the laboring class decisively turns its back upon the machinations of the syndicalists, and that in part the laborers have even of their own accord taken it upon themselves to proceed by means of self-help against the terrorism of the Sindicato Unico. The embassy asserted that Dato, as Minister of the Interior and later as Prime Minister, especially furthered social legislation in Spain. In the memorial address delivered at his grave it was rightly emphasized how tragic it was that Dato, who placed his energy particularly at the service of the working population, was murdered with gross ingratitude by men who counted themselves as members of the working class.

From the legal point of view, the embassy pointed out that the GermanSpanish extradition treaty did not make political crimes susceptible to extradition. Formerly political crimes were conceived as crimes which were inspired by a political movement. Nowadays the theories first recognized in Belgium are followed, according to which political crimes are those directed against a political institution as such, as the existence or security of the state, representatives of the sovereignty of the state or political rights of the citizens. According to the Spanish penal laws, murder is not treated as a political crime, regardless against whom it is committed. To be sure, a non-political crime may be connected with an essentially political crime and it is then treated as a so-called connected crime, just as the essentially

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