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Spain’s Supreme Court dismisses appeals against Catalan separatists pardons

Spain’s Supreme Court on Friday rejected appeals filed by the far-right VOX party and centre-liberal Ciudadanos (Citizens) against the pardons granted by the government to two prominent Catalan separatists directly involved in the October 2017 secessionist attempt in Catalonia.

The Supreme Court’s decision directly benefits former Catalan MP and former President of the separatist organisation Catalan National Assembly (ANC) Jordi S?nchez and former president of the pro-independence cultural organisation ?mnium Cultural Jordi Cuixart, Euractiv’s partner EFE reported.

With Friday’s decision, the Supreme Court clears the way for other appeals filed for the same facts against other separatist leaders, including Oriol Junqueras, president of the separatist formation Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), and former vice president of Catalonia, to probably also be annulled.

S?nchez and Cuixart were convicted of a sedition offence for the serious events of October 2017 in Catalonia, which, following the reform of the penal code in Spain, the Court reclassified as a crime of aggravated public disorder.

Appeals against the Spanish government’s pardons for former Catalan regional government (Generalitat) “ministers” (consellers) Ra?l Romeva, Jordi Turull and Dolors Bassa, involved in the October 2017 serious events, could also be annulled.

The appeals against the pardons for the former president of the Catalan regional parliament Carme Forcadell and for the “ministers” Joaquim Forn and Josep Rull, also implicated in the secessionist attempt, were shelved as the crime of sedition, the only one for which they were convicted, was repealed.

The appeals still to be resolved by the Spanish judiciary were presented by VOX, the Popular Party (PP/EPP), Spain’s main centre-right opposition force, by Ciudadanos deputies and by Enric Millo, the central government’s delegate in Catalonia in 2017.

The Court’s decision was welcomed by the acting Spanish government as in its view it legitimises the progressive executive’s objective of trying to resolve the political tension in Catalonia through dialogue and negotiation.

“Courageous decision” to “heal the wounds” in Catalonia

The Minister of the Presidency, F?lix Bola?os (PSOE/S&D), stressed that the decision of the judiciary to ratify the “full legality” of the “courageous decision” to pardon those convicted of the events of October 2017 endorses the “path” in favour of coexistence in Catalonia.

In the Minister’s opinion, the granting of the pardons was a measure that many people did not understand at the time, but now, two years later, “everyone knows” that it was a “correct and useful decision that served for coexistence and to heal the wounds in Catalonia”, he stated.

The decision comes in the midst of the controversy between the ruling Socialist Party and United We Can (EU Left) and the right-wing opposition over the hypothetical approval of an amnesty law for those involved in the events.

The approval of an amnesty law and a hypothetical future referendum on Catalonia’s self-determination are the two main “red lines” set out by pro-independence parties Junts Per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia, JxCat) and ERC, to vote in favour of a new investiture of Pedro S?nchez.

(Fernando Heller

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