Spanish government grants ‘partial amnesty’ to Catalan politicians jailed for 1,328 days

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Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who made a statement without asking reporters after the amnesty decision unanimously accepted by the Council of Ministers, said: “We don’t expect those who have been forgiven to change notice. These people have never been condemned for their opinions. anyway. ”mentioned.

Sanchez said that the aforementioned amnesty was “partial”, that despite the abolition of prison sentences, the sentences of disqualification from public service would remain in force and that if these people committed serious crimes in 3 to 6 years, the amnesty would be revoked.

Stressing that the 2019 Supreme Court verdict on Catalan politicians has not been called into question by the government, Sanchez said they made this amnesty decision because they believed it was in the interest of the public and that it was necessary to put the division and opposition aside and turn a new leaf.

The Spanish Prime Minister continued:

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“Spanish democracy is showing its greatness today. This decision was taken because it corresponds to the spirit of reconciliation and coexistence in the Spanish constitution, because it is the best for Catalonia and Spain. This decision stems from the need to restore coexistence. We want to open a new era of dialogue. We live together and We have to solve our problems together. It is very difficult to solve our problems, but we must try it for future generations. As a government, we are optimistic about the future. Now is the time to turn a new page in politics and to embark on a path that must never be abandoned. Now is the time to focus all of our strength on improving the lives of our people. We can’t start from scratch, but we can start over. “

It is expected that the arrested Catalan politicians, who are exempt from all the charges of which they are convicted and who are pardoned by individual decisions, will be released from prison immediately after the signing of the Supreme Court and the publication of the decision in the Journal official.

On the other hand, it has been reported that Catalan politicians will pursue the case they have taken to the European Court of Human Rights, where they have requested the annulment of the sentence handed down by the Spanish court due to illegal referendum and compensation claims against the Spanish state.

The amnesty decision does not cover Carles Puigdemont, the former head of the autonomous government of Catalonia and currently a member of the European Parliament, and six other former members of the Catalan government, who fled Spanish justice and went abroad .

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AMNEST’S DECISION MAKES NOBODY HAPPY

Meanwhile, the government’s amnesty decision to “rebuild living together” in Catalonia has been criticized in political circles for various reasons.

The main right-wing opposition party, the Popular Party (PP) and the far-right Vox and Liberal Citizens parties argued that the amnesty was “a blow to Spanish democracy and legality”.

Stressing that the Catalan politicians in question have never regretted the illegal referendum process and made no apologies to the Spanish people, PP leader Pablo Casado announced that they would ask the Supreme Court to quash the the amnesty decision.

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In an advisory report submitted last month, the Supreme Court said it opposed the amnesty decision on the grounds that it was “contrary to justice, equality and the public interest”.

Catalan separatists demand amnesty and referendum
Pere Aragones, head of the autonomous government of Catalonia, said: “Although the amnesty decision is the first step that we recognize, it is incomplete and insufficient. It is not a solution to the problem.” made his review.

Aragones wanted a general amnesty law covering other Catalan politicians who have been investigated or prosecuted for participating in independence initiatives in Catalonia, and also to prepare the legal ground for a referendum on the independence that will give Catalonia the right to decide its own future from 2023.

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In comments from political experts in the Spanish press, it was stated that the amnesty decision would have a negative impact on Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his party (Socialist Workers’ Party), especially in the short term, but the situation could to be reversed in the medium term according to the evolution of Catalonia.

PROCESS IN CATALONIA

Independence political initiatives in Catalonia began in 2012 and the first illegal independence referendum took place on November 9, 2014, under the leadership of Artur Mas, then head of the autonomous government of Catalonia.

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Then, on October 1, 2017, under the leadership of Carles Puigdemont, who was head of the autonomous government of Catalonia from January 12, 2016 to October 28, 2017, currently European parliamentarian and holder of an arrest and detention warrant in Spain, on October 1, 2017, despite the annulment decision of the Constitutional Court, the referendum on independence took place.

The autonomous parliament of Catalonia also accepted the “unilateral declaration of independence, the announcement of which has been postponed”, on October 27, 2017, and the autonomous rights of Catalonia were temporarily transferred to the central government with the decision taken in Spanish . Senate on the same day and applying Article 155 of the Constitution.

After these events, Puigdemont and 6 former Catalan politicians, who escaped Spanish courts, left the country, while other former members of the Catalan autonomous government and representatives of two non-governmental organizations were arrested on November 2, 2017. with a conservatory decision and sent to prison.

Nine members of the former Catalan autonomous government and representatives of non-governmental organizations were sentenced to 9 to 13 years in prison, with the decision announced in October 2019, for rebellion against the state, embezzlement of public funds and disobedience to state establishments.

Although the autonomous administration of Catalonia granted the right of half-liberty to Catalan politicians imprisoned in January, this right was revoked after objections from the Catalan court.

Although the left-wing coalition government, in power in Spain since January 2020, has taken the measure of amnesty for a solution to the Catalonia problem, it is not in favor of the Catalan autonomous government’s request for a referendum. legal for independence.

At the dialogue table to be established between the central government and the Catalan autonomous government, it is planned to seek a solution in which the rights to autonomy will be extended without resorting to a referendum.

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