Spain’s Supreme Court opposes pardons for jailed Catalan separatists

by Deborah Cater
Sup`reme Court opposes pardons for jailed Catalan separatists Image by Juan Antonio Segal on flickr.com

MADRID – Spain’s Supreme Court opposes pardons for the 12 Catalan separatist leaders convicted for their role in Catalonia’s failed independence bid in 2017.

The Spanish government proposed potential pardons for the 12 Catalan separatists, but had to wait for Spain’s top court to rule before taking its final decision.

The Supreme Court’s non-binding report comes at a time when the government hopes to reopen talks with Catalonia’s new pro-independence government.

Time for concord

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez hinted he is considering a pardon. “There is time for punishment and time for concord,” he told parliament on Wednesday when asked about the potential pardons.

However, he didn’t elaborate further as the opposition attacked his stance. They claimed it undermined Spain’s unity.

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On Tuesday, he told reporters his final decision would “take into account constitutional values such as harmony, dialogue and understanding”.

No hint of contrition

In its report, the Supreme Court considered the sentences issued were appropriate for the crimes. It said: “there is not the slightest evidence or faintest hint of contrition” on behalf of the sentenced leaders for their actions.

Regret is a requirement for a pardon. As a result, the Supreme Court opposes pardons for the convicted.

In October 2019, the court sentenced nine Catalan separatist politicians and activists to between nine and 13 years in jail. Their charges were for organising an unauthorised referendum on independence and issuing a short-lived unilateral declaration of independence.

The three other defendants did not receive a prison sentence for their crime of disobedience.

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