Spain’s Prime Minister set to pardon jailed Catalan leaders
Spain’s Prime Minister is set to pardon Catalan leaders who were jailed for their role in the independence bid in 2017.
Pedro Sánchez laid the ground today to issue the pardons by decree by telling parliament that “there is a time for punishment and a time for harmony”.
The supreme court sentenced nine of the leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition in 2019. The three other defendants in the ruling over a banned referendum and short-lived independence declaration were found guilty of disobedience but were not sent to prison.
The prison sentences prompted protests in Catalonia, where they were seen as Spain’s “revenge”. They were brutally suppressed by Spanish police.
At the time Sánchez the sentences confirmed “the defeat of a movement that failed to gain internal support and international recognition”.
However, his Socialist-led government now relies on a fragile coalition, which includes the support of a Catalan independence party.
Yesterday he said: “It is important to look to the future, learn from mistakes and be aware that among the fundamental values of the constitution there is neither revenge nor vengeance.”
He added that the actions of politicians needs to be guided by “overcoming fractures, reconnecting, building harmony and coexistence”.
Spain’s supreme court voiced its opposition to the pardons, saying that they would be “an unacceptable solution”, and that those convicted had not shown “the slightest sign of repentance”.
The main conservative opposition Popular Party has vowed to fight the move, with Pablo Casado, its leader, saying that “complying with the law is not revenge, defending national unity is not revenge and mounting a coup against the state is not a constitutional value”.