Writer, lawyer and stage director Josep Maria Loperena died on Friday morning at the age of 82. Born in Alguaire (Segrià) in 1938, he studied Philosophy and Letters and Law at the University of Barcelona and was a theater director in the 60s and 70s. At the end of the 70s he left the theatrical direction and dedicated himself to full in advocacy. He is currently a columnist for the Diari de Girona. He also published law books and essays on theater.
His most recent work is the novel L’espia del violí (Efadós), which coincided with the publication of L’espia del Ritz (Column) by Pilar Rahola. Both works used the character of Bernard Hilda and this gave rise to a controversy between Loperena and Rahola. The former ended up filing a criminal complaint for plagiarism against the latter.
Loperena’s lawsuit against Columna, against Rahola and against journalist Jordi Finestres? Responsible for the report on Bernard Hilda that Sàpiens magazine published in 2003? argued that Rahola had appropriated “his” Bernard Hilda, a real violinist who worked at the Ritz Hotel in Barcelona during the 1940s and that Loperena fictionalized his novel as a spy, although he claimed that “Never” had he been a spy. By contrast, Rahola claimed that the protagonist of his novel was inspired by published information about the real character.
In 2004 he received the Joaquim Amat-Piniella Prize for the novel La casa del fanalet vermelho, and wrote other works such as El circ de la justícia, El circ de la política and El circ dels corruptes.
As a lawyer, he starred in some important processes of the Spanish Transition, such as the attack on the party hall Scala, La Torna, the assault on the barracks of Berga or the contention of Lluís Llach against Felipe González for breaching an electoral commitment .
He also filed a lawsuit against José María Aznar in the International Court of Justice in 2004, and took charge of this lawsuit for the Spanish government’s intervention in the invasion of Iraq, and in the 1990s defended several members of the independence movement. Catalan arrested by the National High Court.
Loperena was president, for five years, of the Human Rights Committee of the Barcelona Bar Association (Icab).
The dean of the Icab, Maria Eugènia Gay, lamented yesterday “the sad loss of Josep Maria Loperena”, whom she defined as “a faithful defender of collective rights”.