The Spanish government will start processing requests for pardons addressed to Catalan political leaders sentenced for their involvement in the organization of the secessionist referendum and in the declaration of independence of Catalonia in 2017 next week. it is only a question of fulfilling a “legal obligation” and of rejecting any political reading of the affair.
The announcement was made by surprise, this Wednesday, by the Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, at the Congress of Deputies, and in the form of a response to a question asked by the spokesperson for the independence party Together for Catalonia, Laura Borràs, who accused the Spanish justice of politicization, in the context of the Catalan question and the process of disqualification against the president of the Catalan government, Quim Torra, and wanted to know what are the plans of the government to stop this “derivative”.
“The government respects court resolutions. All. This ministry [da Justiça] it normatively promotes the goals of government, it deals with nationality processes and it deals with pardons. Those [indultos] who worries you (…) will start treatment next week, ”revealed the socialist minister, quoted by the newspaper La Vanguardia.
At stake are the demands submitted by lawyer Francesc de Jufresa, the Catalan General Union of Workers and three former Presidents of the Catalan Parliament, addressed to Oriol Junqueras, Joaquim Forn, Josep Rull, Raul Romeva, Jordi Turull, Dolors Bassa, Carmen Forcadell , Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez (prisoners), and for Santi Vila, Meritxell Borràs, Carles Mundó (disabled).
The crimes in question are those of sedition, embezzlement and disobedience. In the same speech, Juan Carlos Campo said that the processing of requests for pardon will be accompanied by the start of the legislative process to review the crimes of sedition and rebellion, enshrined in the Penal Code.
“We are faced with democratic normality with possible normative changes that society demands,” the minister said, stressing the government’s “commitment” to pushing reform forward.
Asked, later, by the television channel La Sexta on the question of whether these announcements are gestures of goodwill by the Spanish government, with a view to soliciting the support of the separatist parties for the approval of the next state budget , Juan Carlos Campo assured that it was simply the beginning of a “legal process” on “a series of rights enjoyed by convicts.”
In the area of independence, the start of the pardon process is also seen as a “compulsory” procedural phase, to which Catalan leaders are entitled. “This is not a gesture of good will, it is a procedure defined by law,” said Republican left spokeswoman Marta Vilalta.
Other representatives of the Catalan independence movement also stress that pardon, in itself, does not resolve the fundamental question of Catalonia, beyond “the personal solution” of the condemned, in the words of the vice-president of the cultural association Òmnium, Marcel Mauri.
Only a political solution, “total amnesty” and the programming of a referendum for the independence of Catalonia, agreed with the Spanish government, they say, can heal the Catalan wound.
Although the possibility of granting a pardon is reduced – the El Nacional site recalls that in 2019 only 1% of requests were validated by the government – Partido Popular and Vox have already declared that they will appeal the decision if the The executive acceded to requests on behalf of Catalan leaders.
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Judicial sources told El País that these proceedings generally last “more than six months”. A period which should be further extended due to the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The first step will be to hear from all parties involved in each of the convicted cases, starting with the sentencing court – the Supreme Court – and the person who laid the charge – the prosecutor.