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World Spain's right rallies against plan to pardon Catalan separatists

08:05  13 june  2021
08:05  13 june  2021 Source:   afp.com

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Twelve Catalan separatists were convicted by Spain ' s Supreme Court with nine of them receiving jail terms of between nine and 13 years, including Oriol Junqueras who received the longest sentence LLUIS GENE AFP. Right -wing protesters hit the streets of Madrid on Sunday to denounce controversial Spanish government plans to offer pardons to the jailed Catalan separatists behind the failed 2017 independence bid. The mass protest, which is scheduled to start at midday (1000 GMT), will up pressure on Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez who has called for understanding over the planned

“ Spain has had problems explaining this situation to the international community,” said one person close to the government. “The independence movement did a great campaign aimed at making this an international cause.” That person added: “But with the pardons , they know that they can no longer go around For Sánchez, the drawbacks linked to the anticipated pardons lie outside Catalonia , where a major backlash is building against the initiative. The right -wing opposition argues that not only should the Catalan prisoners serve their time, but that Sánchez’ s clemency is a cynical political ploy rather

Right-wing protesters hit the streets of Madrid on Sunday to denounce controversial Spanish government plans to offer pardons to the jailed Catalan separatists behind the failed 2017 independence bid.

Oriol Junqueras, Carme Forcadell are posing for a picture: Twelve Catalan separatists were convicted by Spain's Supreme Court with nine of them receiving jail terms of between nine and 13 years, including Oriol Junqueras who received the longest sentence © LLUIS GENE Twelve Catalan separatists were convicted by Spain's Supreme Court with nine of them receiving jail terms of between nine and 13 years, including Oriol Junqueras who received the longest sentence

The mass protest, which is scheduled to start at midday (1000 GMT), will up pressure on Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez who has called for understanding over the planned gesture that has dominated political debate for weeks and reactivated the controversy over Catalan separatism.

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Spain ' s Supreme Court opposes potential government pardons for the 12 Catalan separatist leaders convicted for their role in the region's failed independence bid in 2017, it said in a non-binding report on Tuesday. The government had to hear the opinion of Spain ’ s top court before taking its own final decision, which it is expected to announce over the summer. The report comes at a time when Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has hinted he is considering to issue a pardon just as he is expected to resume talks with Catalonia ’s new pro-independence government on the region’s political conflict.

Spain ' s Supreme Court opposes potential government pardons for the 12 Catalan separatist leaders convicted for their role in the region's failed independence bid in 2017, it said in a non-binding report on Tuesday. The government had to hear the opinion of Spain ' s top court before taking its own final decision, which it is expected to announce over the summer. The report comes at a time when Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has hinted he is considering to issue a pardon just as he is expected to resume talks with Catalonia 's new pro-independence government on the region's political conflict.

"I understand there may be people who could have objections over this decision that the government may take, given what happened in 2017," he said on Wednesday during an official visit to Argentina.

"But I ask for your trust. I ask for understanding and for magnanimity because the challenge facing all of us -- to promote coexistence -- is worth it."

Although Sanchez's left-wing government has not said anything concrete on the matter, all indications suggest the pardons will be granted before the summer break.

But the proposal has generated a huge backlash from the right-wing opposition, which has accused the minority government of caving in to pressure from separatist parties, on whose support it partially depends.

"Sanchez is planning pardons to legitimise an ongoing crime... (in) a historic error that won't solve anything, only to keep his government from going under," said opposition leader Pablo Casado, head of the right-wing Popular Party (PP).

Spain’s right rallies against plan to pardon Catalan separatists

  Spain’s right rallies against plan to pardon Catalan separatists Right-wing opposition accuses leftist PM of caving in to pressure from separatist parties, which back the government.The mass protest, which is scheduled to start at midday (10:00 GMT) on Sunday, will up pressure on Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez who has called for understanding over the planned gesture that has dominated political debate for weeks and reactivated the controversy over Catalan separatism.

The Spanish government will next week begin considering requests for clemency filed on behalf of Catalan separatist politicians and activists serving prison terms for their role in the the unilateral breakaway attempt of October 2017. According to sources in the Justice Ministry, the first request was filed in January by a Barcelona lawyer named Francesc Jufresa, who petitioned the government to pardon nine individuals convicted to between nine and 13 years in prison after being found guilty of sedition by Spain ’ s Supreme Court. News of the upcoming review was unexpectedly delivered on

Thousands of people took to the streets of Catalonia Tuesday after a judge ordered the detention of two separatist leaders, further inflaming tensions over the region' s chaotic referendum on splitting from Spain . Thousands of workers in Barcelona and other cities staged a brief walkout at noon in protest at Monday' s move by the National Court in Madrid to keep Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez behind bars pending investigations into sedition charges. "Repression is not the solution," protesters shouted as hundreds gathered outside the Catalan regional government offices in central Barcelona.

Spain's Supreme Court has also opposed the move to offer clemency to those convicted over their role in an illegal referendum and a short-lived declaration of independence, saying it saw "no evidence or indication of remorse" from the prisoners to justify any such pardon.

The Supreme Court convicted 12 Catalan separatists for their role in the crisis, with nine of them handed jail terms of between nine and 13 years in October 2019.


Video: Spanish PM calls for 'understanding' over pardons for Catalan separatists (AFP)

- Junqueras' letter -

The prisoner serving the longest sentence of 13 years is Oriol Junqueras, head of the ERC (the Republican Left of Catalonia) which is a key parliamentary ally for Sanchez's government.

In a letter published on Monday, Junqueras signalled support for the idea of a pardon from Madrid after previously rejecting the idea out of hand, also admitting that the separatists had made errors back in 2017.

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Catalan separatist crisis that has plagued Spain ever since a failed breakaway bid by the wealthy region two years ago promises to play a central role in Spain ' s April 28 national election. A demonstrator throws a pallet onto a burning barricade during a protest against a rally by the Spanish far- right Vox party, in Barcelona, Spain , Saturday March 30, 2019. The nationalist Vox party has recently emerged onto the political scene by winning representation in regional elections in the country's south in December.

Catalan separatists and supporters of the region' s right to hold a referendum on independence from Spain have held a rally backing more than 700 mayors facing the threat of arrest. The mayors have been called in for questioning by prosecutors for agreeing to facilitate the vote locally. Some of the mayors gathered with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont outside the headquarters of the regional government, the Generalitat Palace, as supporters waved the lone-star flag of the independence movement. "We stand firm against threats, censorship and prosecution and repeat this: we want to

"We must be mindful of the fact that our response was also not seen as fully legitimate by part of society," he wrote.

He also expressed support for a Scottish-style referendum carried out in agreement with Spain -- an option which Madrid is not willing to discuss.

"All separatist leaders are aware this will be a very costly decision for the Socialists because most Catalans are in favour of the pardons but most Spaniards are against," said Ana Sofia Cardenal, a political scientist at Catalonia's Open University.

But hardline separatists, among them the JxCat party of ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont who fled Spain to avoid prosecution after the 2017 independence bid, have not given up on unilateralism, and have repeatedly demanded an amnesty for the prisoners -- which is not on the table.

At Sunday's gathering, Spain's right-wing opposition will seek to rally those who still feel infuriated by the crisis of 2017 under a huge Spanish flag in Madrid's Plaza de Colon (Colombus Square).

It was here that thousands of people gathered in February 2019, two days before the start of the separatists' trial.

Although the organisers have said no political leaders will be allowed up to the podium on Sunday, Cardenal believes it would be a mistake for opposition leader Casado to even attend the rally.

"If this decision to grant pardons manages to really steer (the Catalan crisis) towards dialogue, it could benefit Sanchez and harm Casado, who has aligned himself with Vox on this issue," he said, referring to the ultra right-wing faction led by Santiago Abascal.

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Sánchez paved Catalan separatist leader .
The step is controversial in the Spanish society: Is government leader Pedro Sánchez looking for supporters for his policy, or is he looking for the dialogue with the catalans to be appealing to independence? © Juan Medina / Reuters The Spanish head of government Pedro Sánchez speaks of looking for a way out of the steady catalonia conflict, Spain's government has pardoned nine detained leader of Catalan Independence Movement.

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