Will this decision ease tensions? This Tuesday, nine Catalan separatists sentenced to prison for the 2017 secession attempt, were pardoned by the Spanish government. Speaking at the end of the Council of Ministers having given the green light to this pardon, the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez estimated that this controversial measure would open “a new stage of dialogue” which will make it possible “to put an end to it once. for all with division and confrontation ”.
This pardon will allow these nine separatists to get out of prison but it remains “partial” because it does not lift the ineligibility sentence to which they had been sentenced, said Pedro Sanchez. It is also “conditioned” to the fact of not committing a serious offense “during a determined time”, he also said.
The choice of “reconciliation”
This decision “is the best for Catalonia, the best for Spain, and the most in accordance with the spirit of concord, of living together, of the Spanish Constitution”, added the socialist leader the day after a speech in Barcelona where he said he had “opted for reconciliation”, nearly four years after the 2017 secession attempt.
“The pardon directly affects nine people but the Spanish government thinks of the hundreds of thousands of Catalans who feel in solidarity with those who are imprisoned and who believe that they have been sufficiently punished,” he said on Tuesday.
Imprisoned for an illegal self-determination referendum
On October 1, 2017, the regional government of the independentist Carles Puigdemont organized a self-determination referendum, despite its ban by the courts. The ballot was punctuated by police violence. A few weeks later, the Catalan parliament unilaterally proclaimed the region’s independence. Madrid then dismissed the regional government in reaction and put the region under supervision.
Prosecuted by justice, the former members of the regional government or the leaders of separatist organizations had left Spain, like Carles Puigdemont, or had found themselves behind bars. The conviction in October 2019 of the nine separatists pardoned on Tuesday led to massive and sometimes violent demonstrations in Catalonia.