Connect with us


Spain. Government approves partial pardon of Catalan leaders for independence in prisons, and Sanchez speaks of “a new era of dialogue” – News



“The Council of Ministers has reached an agreement to pardon nine” independence activists in prison, Pedro Sánchez said in an official statement after a nearly four-hour meeting at which the decision was made.

“The government took this decision because it is the best for Catalonia and the best for Spain,” the Spanish Prime Minister said in a short broadcast, saying he wants to open up a “new era of dialogue” and end the “confrontation”. recognition of “considerations of public benefit” for pardon, in order to “restore coexistence and harmony in Catalan and Spanish societies.”

The nine imprisoned Catalan politicians are to be released from prison today, according to sources in the Spanish Supreme Court, who indicated that the institution will not wait for the decision to be published on Wednesday in the Official Gazette before proceeding with the trial.

In October 2019, nine separatists were sentenced to between 9 and 13 years in prison for their part in a failed attempt to declare Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

The secession attempt in 2017 was one of the worst political crises since the end of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in 1975 and still affects national politics today.

Despite the ban on Spanish justice, the Catalan government, chaired by independent activist Carles Puigdemont, organized a referendum on self-determination on October 1, 2017. The consultations were marked by scenes of police violence, with the central government trying to suppress what he saw as an illegal secession attempt.

On the 27th of the same month, the Parliament of Catalonia unilaterally declared independence. In response, the conservative Spanish government overthrew the Catalan executive branch and placed the region under its wing.

Pursued by justice, the separatist leaders fled Spain like Puigdemont, or were arrested like the then Catalan vice-president and leader of the Left Republican Party of Catalonia (ERC), Oriol Junqueras.

  • Oriol Junqueras (13 years in prison) – former vice president of the executive branch of Catalonia
  • Carme Forcadell (11 years in prison) – former President of the Regional Parliament of Catalonia
  • Raul Romeva, Jordi Turull and Dolors Bassa (12 years in prison) – Former members of the regional government of Catalonia
  • Joaquim Forn and Josep Rull (10 years in prison) – Regional Advisers
  • Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixar (9 years in prison) – leaders of the associations for independence

All of them are now leaving prison, but the pardon is only partial: they will still not be able to hold public office, and the pardon can be canceled if there is a new attempt to achieve independence or if the crime is committed within a certain period of time. …

“These pardons do not depend on whether the recipients abandon their ideas, and we do not expect them,” Sanchez said, justifying this by the fact that prison sentences were handed down “not for their ideas, but for violating the laws of our democracy.” …

A group of independence movement activists who have not yet been tried has not been pardoned either. This group includes Puigdemont, who is based in Belgium and was elected a member of the European Parliament.

The Council of Europe, the main human rights body on the “old continent”, upheld the pardon in a resolution adopted by its assembly late Monday night.

See also  Trump administration chief insists on investigation of alleged election fraud

But the non-binding recommendation also criticized Spain for restricting the freedom of expression of Catalan politicians.

In response, Spain’s foreign ministry said the separatists had been convicted by independent courts for breaking the law, not just for expressing their desire for independence.

What’s at stake in the future?

At the Teatro Liceo in Barcelona on Monday, Sanchez tried to justify the pardon, facing criticism from both the right and independence supporters.

“The main reason for the pardons is their usefulness for coexistence,” the socialist said, noting that he intends to “open the door to reconciliation” in Catalonia, a region whose 7.7 million inhabitants remain deeply divided over independence.

Sanchez stressed that he is aware that part of the Catalan and Spanish society opposes the pardon, but said that “the future should be more important than the past” and that this measure “will give everyone the opportunity to start all over again and do something. Best”.

“If there is time for unification, this is it,” said the prime minister, who also defended “dialogue” from “confrontation” as the latter “did not contribute to the resolution of any conflict.”

These pardons, however, are considered insufficient by the independent in power in Catalonia, which require an amnesty, that is, a step that would imply a complete pardon of the crimes committed and the holding of a referendum on self-determination – opportunities rejected by Madrid.

“A pardon is not a solution to a common problem,” stressed the President of Catalonia, Pere Aragones.

The Spanish right, who rallied thousands in Madrid on June 13 to oppose the pardon, accused Sanchez of trying to stay in power because his minority government needs support from congressional independence activists.

See also  Security forces kill 73 people in 30 days in Venezuela

The current left-wing executive minority, the coalition between the Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Unidas Podemos (far left), has managed to stay in power, namely with the help of the Catalan independence parties, as well as the separatist or nationalist formations of the Basque Country.

Pardon is viewed primarily by the right as a currency of exchange that guarantees the continuation of this support network.

The decision of the Council of Ministers does not definitively resolve this issue, as several proponents of Spanish law and others have already announced that they will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Moreover, the pardon measure is rejected by 53% of Spaniards, according to a recent poll, which, by contrast, showed that 68% of Catalans approve of it.

With this decision, the Sanchez government intends to turn the page and help resolve the protracted crisis in Catalonia.

In a context where Spain registers a decrease in COVID-19 cases as vaccination progresses, and with a general election in two years’ time, the Sanchez government intends to renew its dialogue with the Catalan executive. These negotiations were suspended in February 2020 due to the pandemic.

The positions of both sides remain at antipodes. More moderate than his two predecessors, the new president of Catalonia, Pere Aragones of the ERC, is pushing for a referendum on self-determination, this time agreed with Madrid, similar to Scotland’s 2014.

This opportunity was categorically rejected by the central government, open to vote in Catalonia, but only to decide on greater autonomy for the region. Catalonia already has broad powers in the areas of health, education and safety.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Paris bombings: Sole survivor sentenced to life in prison



The lone survivor of the 2015 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was sentenced this Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Life imprisonment is the most severe punishment in the French penal system and is used very rarely.

Salah Abdeslam (Belgian Federal Police via AP, file)

Of the 20 defendants, 19 had multiple convictions for terrorism, and one, Farid Kharkhach, was convicted of petty fraud.

Throughout the process, Abdeslam declared his radicalism, wept, apologized to the victims and begged the judges to forgive his “mistakes”.

On November 13, 2015, attacks on the terraces of cafes and restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall – during a concert by the American group Eagles of Death Metal – and next to the Stade de France stadium, where the French football team played with the German one – killed 130 people.

Attack on the Bataclan
AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, file

The 20 defendants were awaiting sentencing today, after two and a half days of jury isolation in a secret military barracks for deliberations.

The presiding judge, Judge Jean-Louis Pery, read out the verdicts in the courtroom in unprecedented security, ending a nine-month trial.

Mohamed Abrini, the “man in the hat” of the Brussels attacks, accused of providing logistical support on November 13, 2015, was sentenced to life in prison.

Osama Krayem and Sophien Ayari, whose prosecution showed “confidence” that they would carry out the Amsterdam airport attack on the same day as the Paris attacks, were sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Mohamed Bakkali, who is considered by the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office to be a “confidant” of the cell’s logistics, was also sentenced to 30 years in prison.

See also  Texas adopts most radical abortion law in the United States

The six defendants were tried in absentia, including five senior Islamic State (IS) officials who are believed to have died, including Belgian suspected sponsor of the attacks, Oussama Atar.

Penalties range from two years to life imprisonment, and three defendants were given suspended sentences without the right to return to prison.

Fourteen defendants were brought to trial, including Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor of a group of 10 people who terrorized the French capital on the night of November 13, 2015.

For the families of victims and survivors of the attacks, the trial was painful but decisive in their quest for justice.

During this trial, the longest in France, 1,800 witnesses were heard and 330 lawyers were mobilized.

Especially for this occasion, a courtroom was built and installed in the Palais de Justice in Paris, next to Notre Dame. This room will now be preserved for the July 14, 2016 attacks in Nice.

Continue Reading


EU close to compromise on lifting partial blockade of Kaliningrad – columnist



You have free access to all Observer articles as a subscriber.

Freight traffic through Lithuania to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad could resume within a few days. The information was disclosed to Reuters two sources familiar with the case say European authorities are seeking an understanding with Lithuania to resolve the dispute with Russia.

Since June 17, Lithuanian authorities have partially blocked the delivery of goods to the enclave, which mainly uses Lithuanian rail and road networks to transport goods.

The measure, justified by the fourth package of EU sanctions against Russia, affected the industrial sector, including the transportation of coal, metals and building materials, and became hotbed of tension with the Kremlin.

Kaliningrad. Could a partial blockade of the enclave lead to a Russian invasion of Lithuania?

Russian leadership accuses Lithuania of “unprecedented” measures what kind constitute a “violation of international law”. The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, guarantees that it does not apply any individual sanctions against Moscow, explaining this by the fact that it only implements the measures prescribed by Brussels.


According to Reuters sources, who wished to remain anonymous, negotiations are underway to free the territory from sanctions. One of them says that despite the West’s willingness to continue to support Ukraine, it is proving difficult to maintain restrictive sanctions.

See also  Security forces kill 73 people in 30 days in Venezuela
Continue Reading


Kyiv is negotiating with Moscow on the release of foreign fighters – News



Moscow is holding captive “thousands” of Ukrainians and “military personnel from all over the world who have volunteered” to defend Ukraine, Zelensky reminded in statements to the US television channel NBC.

The head of the Ukrainian state thanked for the support of volunteer fighters, whom he considers “heroes”, and confirmed that negotiations are underway to release those who were captured.

“Everyone understands that the war in Ukraine today is here on this earth, but tomorrow it can happen anywhere in Europe, and the “day after tomorrow” can happen in the United States,” the Ukrainian president said.

Thus, he added, “it would be absolutely fair to say that the war in Ukraine is already a war in Europe and the United States, only – territorially – it is happening here.”

Zelenskiy’s announcement came on the same day that the defense of British citizen Sean Pinner, who was sentenced to death in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, announced that he had appealed the sentence.

Pinner, 48, was sentenced to death on June 9, along with fellow Briton Aiden Aislin, 28, and Moroccan citizen Braquim Saadoun, after being found guilty of participating in hostilities “as mercenaries” in support of Ukrainian forces.

Two Britons were captured by Russian forces during Moscow’s siege of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on the Sea of ​​Azov, Brakim Saadoun was taken prisoner in March.

See also  The flight to Palma de Mallorca could have been organized on Facebook
Continue Reading