1. Spain's Supreme Court has completely rejected “any form of pardon - wholly or in part - to those convicted in the judgment” of the trial of the Catalan separatists in 2019 for sedition. Let's take a look at the details of the report.
2. Supreme Court begins with a review of the sentences, from the acquittal of all for rebellion and criminal organization, or fines for contempt for Mundó, Borrás and Vila, to the 13 years in prison and disqualification for Junqueras for sedition and the misuse of public funds.
4. Things off to a bad start, says the Supreme Court, because applications for pardon try to use the mechanism as a final appeal court “to remedy the alleged violation of fundamental rights” and “choose to focus on a legal criticism of the judgment handed down by this Chamber”.
5. Supreme Court recommends applicants read the original “extensive judgement” of the Supreme, where they will find responses to all the arguments they have again included in the pardon applications. Central argument is “the lack of proportionality of the sentences”.
6. “It has been interpreted by some of the applicants as the public opening of a procedure to convey to the Government of the Nation their complaints about the judicial response to the facts that were subject to trial”. Pardons do not work like that, Supreme Court repeats.
7. For those of you who remember the trial, try to imagine the polite but harsh tone with which Marchena corrected the lawyers as you read this thread. Many of the requests do not mention “considerations of fairness or justice” to better argue for the pardon they seek.
8. Report also reads as a telling off for the lawyers who handed in the petitions for pardon, with several Criminal Law 101 notes at the beginning: “Criminal responsibility declared in a judgement is always individual.” The lawyers have collectivized it again.
9. Prison administrators also get a telling off for their fictitious collectivisation of “the catalan separatist prisoners” in jail, “with visible distancing from legal requirements [...] which has significantly hindered the fulfillment of the purposes of the sentence”.-
10. Petitions for pardon so badly written that Supreme Court says the convicts could have taken advantage of their personal opportunities to write to the court this past May to provide arguments “that none of the petitioners' writings offered us.” That didn't happen either.
11. Almost all of the convicts have completely ignored that opportunity. They mean for "declared criminal responsibility to now be extinguished by the exercising of the right of grace”. The are “in the diametrically opposite position” of expected exemplary behavior.
12. Only two of the twelve convicts have replied to the Supreme Court this month. Who were they? The first... Santi Vila, the former regional business minister, who just recognised the existence of the pardon request. The second...who was the second...?
13. The second was... Jordi Cuixart who, in addition to replying to the Supreme Court, informed the judges that there was no crime, that he had not committed any crime, that he could not have acted otherwise, is not at all repentant and that he will do it all again.
14. Cuixart “thus expresses his rejection of any reunion with the legal values affected by the crime”, says the Supreme Court, which also notes he rejects the very concept of a pardon because he would prefer an amnesty, out of dignity and “to resolve the political conflict”.
16. Supreme Court outlines some of the applicants' arguments: “At present there is a situation of democratic abnormality in Catalonia, which can only be corrected by a pardon that allows the convicts to be elected by universal suffrage.”
17. In another argument, Covid and political confrontation are present: “Any statesmanlike action that helps us reduce conflicts and find the stability and economic recovery that our country so needs at this time will be welcomed.”
19.Bassa and Turull have surely had fine careers and personal lives, says Supreme Court, but if they took into account family, social and professional circumstances, only those with no family or who do not know how to get along with neighbors and colleagues would go to jail.
20. Supreme Court reminds people, once again, that this is not a debate on the judgement or the trial: “Requests for pardon are not a legal dialogue between this Chamber and the citizens, political parties and foundations who have promoted them”.
21. Supreme Court again highlights applicants' lack of reading comprehension: it was not a public order problem but “an attack on the public peace and the observance of laws and judicial rulings as the basis for coexistence within the constitutional framework”.
22. Supreme Court highlights similar prison sentences in neighbouring countries for similar offences: Germany, at least 10 years; France, up to life imprisonment; Italy, not less than 12 years; Belgium, 20 to 30 years in jail; Portugal, 10 to 20 years in prison.
23. [For those who remember the details of the judgement at the time, and the problems that arose between sedition and rebellion, and how judges get to one or the other, there could be a debate there but Supreme Court highlights this, and in this way, for the pardons report]
26. Politicians can't pardon themselves. Public Prosecutor's Office thinks Article 102 of the Constitution, which seeks to stop that, is applicable and the Supreme Court “agrees on the idea that the purpose [...] is none other than to prevent self-pardon measures”.
27. Pardons in the real world, writes Supreme Court, are about “justice, fairness or public utility”, about “the re-education and social reintegration of the convicts” and is for “those exceptional cases” in which there has been “an absolutely undue punitive response”.
28. After 18 pages of various legal details, the court gets to the gist of it, applying it all to this specific case: “This Chamber cannot record in its report THE SLIGHTEST PROOF OR THE WEAKEST SIGN OF REPENTANCE” from the prisoners. Nothing at all, certifies the Supreme Court.
29. “The message conveyed by those convicted in the exercise of their right to the last word and in their subsequent public statements is very expressive of their willingness to reoffend in the attack on the pillars of democratic coexistence,” says the Supreme Court.
30. Supreme Court again emphasizes Cuixart's exemplary (in the negative sense) comment on this matter, in his letter to the Chamber this month: “everything he did he will do again because he did not commit any crime and he is convinced that was what he had to do...”
31. “These words are the best expression of the reasons why a pardon is presented as an unacceptable solution for the early termination of criminal responsibility.”
It is “an anti-democratic attitude” that would allow people to “pulverise the bases of coexistence”.
32. Catalan separatist demonstrations “were neither peaceful nor democratic”, says the Supreme. “It is not democratic to resort to de facto options” to try to overthrow the Constitution with a transition law.
33. “When the perpetrators of a mobilization aimed at unilaterally subverting the constitutional order present themselves as political prisoners [...] the reasons invoked to support the total or partial extinction of the sentence [...] lose all justification”.
34. Having read the Supreme Court report, listen to Sánchez yesterday: “the vocation that all politicians must have to overcome fractures, to meet each other, to build harmony and coexistence. That is what the government of Spain will do.” Via @europapress
35. This morning, regarding the pardons, Sánchez said in Congress: “There is a time for punishment, and there is a time for concord [...] the government of Spain will make a conscientious decision in favor of coexistence among all Spaniards”.
37. Espinosa de los Monteros (Vox): “The Supreme Court clearly says the pardon is absolutely not acceptable”. Sánchez “has avoided” saying whether or not he will pardon the separatists. “There is absolutely no justification for granting pardons”.
38. Asens (Podemos): “Judges' time has passed and now it is time for politics, for political actors to do their job [...] The solution has to begin with the freedom of the prisoners”. Dialogue when Junqueras is out of jail.
39. In that same debate in Congress, Basque nationalists now deem it urgent for the Sánchez government to start paying what they said they were going to pay in the Basque Country: “we can't understood that they have not already been made”.
40. Arrimadas (Ciudadanos): “The report is so clear that anyone worthy of being Prime Minsiter of the Spanish Government has to abide by it. He cannot even think in his head about pardoning these coup leaders...”
41. In Barcelona, after the first meeting of the new regional Catalan government, Pere Aragonés (Esquerra) said he will talk to Pedro Sánchez about “an amnesty for those punished, as well as the right to self-determination”.
42. After the Supreme Court highlighted the words in his letter to the court, Cuixart proudly tweets a screenshot of that section of the report: “No distraction: yesterday, today and whenever necessary, we will do it again. Long live free Catalonia!”
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written by Matthew Bennett, a British journalist who has been living and working in Spain for most of the past 20 years.