Where will Spain end up if Sánchez pardons separatists?

Analysis: The government must not forget the social and political passions that the crisis in 2017 in Catalonia suddenly aroused. We are talking about all Spaniards' feelings towards their Nation and its Justice.
By Matthew Bennett
May 26, 2021, 10:55 pm

The Supreme Court's report could not be more conclusive. In no case can there be a pardon of the 12 Catalan separatists convicted at trial for sedition in 2019, from a judicial perspective. The applicants did not read and interpret the original judgement properly, they did not read and interpret fundamental points of the Criminal Code properly, and instead of presenting a solid legal argument around the real concept of pardons, they opted for "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". The words of Jordi Cuixart deserved special rebuke, the Court thought, despite being only one of two prisoners who bothered to write a letter to the court about the requests for grace that affect them. "This Chamber cannot include in its report the slightest evidence or the faintest hint of repentance."

Following those words from the Supreme Court of the Kingdom of Spain, no Prime Minister in any modern constitutional democracy, based on the rule of law, from whatever party, could realistically consider granting in any way a pardon for political reasons. Pedro Sánchez, however, seems willing to try. "The vocation that all politicians must have to overcome fractures, to meet each other, to build harmony and coexistence", he said yesterday: "That is what the government of Spain will do". Today, he repeated the idea in parliament, the seat of national sovereignty: "There is a time for punishment, and there is a time for harmony [...] the government of Spain will make a conscientious decision in favor of coexistence among all Spaniards". Nothing indicates that he is not (relatively speking) about to push the big pardon button in an absolutely reckless manner, if we are talking about constitutions, nations and the rule of law.

I wrote two years ago from Madrid, during the trial, that a Constitution is not only the law of laws but also the way in which elites distribute power in a territory, and that what we were seeing was some parts of the elite judging another part of the elite, according to this supreme national norm, from which the authority of both the government and the Supreme Court emanates. Justice that is as equal for all as possible is one, or even the fundamental basis of coexistence between 47 million people. Vox has said that they will call Spaniards on to the streets if the government does finally pardon the prisoners and I would not be surprised if the other opposition parties joined in with that gesture or if it was widely received among many Spaniards in many cities across the country, not only in Catalonia. The government must not forget the social and political passions that the crisis in 2017 in that region suddenly aroused. We are talking about all Spaniards' feelings towards their Nation and its Justice.

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