Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana have made it abundantly clear to the PSOE that they will demand amnesty for those accused of the process as an essential requirement to invest Pedro Sánchez. The Republicans stress that this is a “red line”, and Carles Puigdemont’s party warns that no one misinterpret their support for the socialist Francina Armengol to preside over Congress because amnesty continues to be an unavoidable condition. Another problem is added to the complex and controversial constitutional fit of the measure: the pro-independence parties do not clarify how many people it could benefit and offer very different readings. Junts, from the outset, includes Laura Borràs, president of the party and convicted of corruption, in the list of potential beneficiaries of the law of oblivion and extinction of crimes.
The two formations and the CUP already promoted an amnesty bill in 2021, which did not make the cut at the Table when the Chamber’s lawyers alleged that it violated article 62 of the Constitution that prohibits general pardons. The PSOE then aligned itself with the PP and Vox to stop the processing of the text, while Unidas Podemos supported it. Along with the referendum, the independence movement has always claimed amnesty for the hundreds of defendants, arguing that the so-called Catalan conflict is political in nature and that it must leave the sphere of justice.
Due to the complex constitutional fit of the measure, the pro-independence parties disagree and offer vague data on its scope
The agreement signed between the PSOE and ERC, which allowed the Republicans to vote on Thursday in favor of the appointment of Armengol, appeals, in its third point, to the fact that the State is committed to “the end of the repression” related to the 1- Or against the independence movement through the “necessary legal channels”. Patxi López, socialist spokesperson, clarified after the session that the document referred to politics as the one that should solve the problems and that everything not be referred to the courts. Oriol Junqueras, president of ERC, pointed out, after speaking at a conference at the Universitat Catalana d’Estiu, in Prada de Conflent, in France, that the mention of the necessary legal channels must be translated as amnesty.
The legal debate is served because from the lawyers of Congress to legal experts disagree on whether or not the amnesty is viable. Xavier Arbós, professor of Constitutional Law at the UB, considers it “debatable” because it annuls the power of the judiciary to judge and execute what has been judged. He has no doubts about the independence movement, which he recalls that the Constitution does not prohibit it. The difference between pardon and amnesty is based on the fact that the first is a measure of grace from the Government for convicted persons, while the second is of a general nature and means turning the page and also forgetting the criminal record.
The deputies of Junts Miriam Nogueras, Eduard Pujol and Josep Maria Cruset Domènech, the Jew, in Congress. / CLAUDIO ÁLVAREZ Claudio Álvarez
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The future negotiation between the PSOE and Junts and ERC will start from two unknowns: that controversial legal reserve and doubts about how many people the measure would benefit between those convicted and prosecuted. And also to whom. ERC has always denied that the case of Laura Borràs has anything to do with the process and calls it corruption. But Miriam Nogueras, spokesperson for Junts, affirmed yesterday, in an interview with the ACN agency, collected by Nació Digital, that the law must protect “all people” who during the process were affected “by Spanish injustice”, including Borràs . The former president of Parliament was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for breaking contracts, although the same sentence raised a partial pardon to prevent her from going to prison.
The Òmnium count shows that some 600 people could benefit
The number of those affected, in any case, is variable. Borràs herself warned that there will be no investiture if there is no amnesty for the “4,200” defendants. But this data does not match the one managed by Òmnium, the independence entity that a year ago began to prepare a detailed digital map that seeks to assess the situation of the different people who have had judicial, police or administrative problems as a result of the process. The entity does refer to 4,230 people “retaliated” since 2017, distributed as follows: 1,432 for legal cases; 1,689 victims of “police violence” and 1,200 of “economic drowning” by the Court of Accounts or dismissed after the intervention of the Catalan autonomy in application of article 155 of the Constitution in 2017. The chapter on legal cases includes leaders of the procés partially pardoned, who continue to be disqualified and whose case is in the European courts.
According to Òmnium data, of the more than 1,400 cases, 700 have been archived due to lack of evidence or indications and 200 have already been tried with an even balance between convictions and acquittals. There would now be some 500 more people with open cases pending trial or prosecution. Therefore, according to this count of the private entity, the eventual beneficiaries of an amnesty could amount to some 600 people, the vast majority anonymous. Another no less detail to take into account is that the independentistas at no time allude to accused persons from outside their ranks, such as the policemen tried for the police charges of 1-O. The debate on an amnesty would also place these officials under the spotlight.
“When we talk about an amnesty law, we think absolutely of all those who have suffered reprisals in the general cause against the independence movement,” says Teresa Jordà (ERC)
Esquerra does not give figures, but in just 24 hours he offered three different readings on who the amnesty should apply to. Gabriel Rufián, ERC spokesman in Congress, confined it to those defendants who organized 1-O. The Prosecutor’s Office is demanding between six and seven years in prison, respectively, for Josep Maria Jové, president of the ERC group in Parliament, and Lluís Salvadó, president of the Port of Barcelona, both of whom are Oriol Junqueras’s most trusted. In his statements in France, the ERC leader opened the focus and maintained that he should benefit all cases involving prison. Several defendants have been sentenced to years in prison for attacking authority, public disorder and injury. The Prosecutor’s Office has requested prison sentences many times for the altercations in the mobilizations to celebrate the successive anniversaries of 1-O and against the sentence of the process, of October 2019.
Teresa Jordà, an ERC deputy, assures that she has already spoken with the PSOE about the amnesty and that she trusts that it will go ahead, while warning that it is “reckless” to assume that they will support Sánchez’s investiture. And raise the bar further. “When we talk about an amnesty law,” she underlines, “we are thinking absolutely of all those who suffered reprisals in the general cause against the independence movement. It should never have happened. The only thing we did was defend democracy.”
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