Misc 04/12/2020

Independence movement blames the Supreme Court of "revenge" and reinforces the claim for amnesty

PP and Ciudadanos defend the Court's decision, and ask the Spanish government not to "avoid" it

Marc Toro / Mireia Esteve / Quim Bertomeu
4 min
Dolors Bassa i Carme Forcadell amb l’expresident Quim Torra.

BarcelonaThe decision was expected - but this doesn't make it any less painful, according to former Minister Dolors Bassa. Neither the independence nor the sovereign movements have been surprised this Friday by the Supreme Court's decision to revoke the open prison regime and veto article 100.2 of the prison regime for political prisoners, but both the affected parties and entities have coincided in interpreting the high court's decision as an act of "revenge". With more or less nuances, the independence movement has once again called for an amnesty law to free those convicted, while the comuns - members of the Spanish government who are opposed to this proposal - have reiterated the need to speed up both the possibility of pardoning and the Penal Code reform - measures which the Moncloa refuses to schedule for the time being.

"The Supreme Court is dictating revenge again", ERC President Oriol Junqueras reacted on Twitter. "The lesson, the state's revenge and the application of the enemy's prison law leave no room for surprises", added former Minister Jordi Turull, while his government colleague, Raül Romeva, said that "little by little this state is turning into a big prison". "The revocation of the open prison regime is a political punishment for our ideology", said the former Minister for Territory Josep Rull. The same argument has been put forward by the current vice-president, Pere Aragonès, and by the government's spokesperson, Meritxell Budó, who, in declarations to Catalunya Ràdio, has denounced the "immense shame and cruelty" of the Supreme Court.

The president of Òmnium, Jordi Cuixart has asked to not see the prisoners and exiles as "the visualization of any defeat". "Today more than ever: amnesty and self-determination", he has demanded in a tweet; the vice-president of the entity, Marcel Mauri, has insisted along these lines. "We don't have any use for false promises from the Spanish government that don't arrive or we don't know if they will arrive", Mauri said about the pardons and the reform of the crime of sedition, while the ANC denounced "torture" and "overkill" on Twitter, and affirmed that "only independence will end the repression". Mauri, however, has pointed to the cancelling of the semi-freedom regime as Moncloa's lack of "will" to release prisoners. He has argued, among other things, that prisoners could now have the open prison regime if the prosecutor's office, a body that the Spanish government "controls", had not filed an appeal.

The state's responsibility over this reppression is, in fact, what has marked the nuances in the reactions of JxCat and ERC. Budó has made it clear that right now she does not see "any willingness" of the Spanish government to face the "negotiation" on the political conflict, while ERC Eurodeputy Diana Riba - who is also Romeva's partner - has defended in Catalunya Ràdio that "the solution is through politics", exhausting paths such as estabilishing a dialogue with the Spanish government, agreed by ERC and PSOE in exchange for Pedro Sánchez's investiture. The president of the Parliament, Roger Torrent (also a member of ERC), has however lamented that the Spanish government has "the tools" to lay the foundations for a resolution of the conflict and "it is not doing so". "It is shameful to see how the government of the PSOE and Podemos is incapable of stopping the enemies of dialogue and those who want to derail any form of negotiation", he said.

Those who have also advocated for a de-judicialisation and a return to politics have been the comuns. "We must remove the conflict from the field of punishment and bring it back into politics", stated the head of the En Común Podem party in Parliament, Jaume Asens, who denounced the fact that the Supreme Court was not "competent" to cancel the open prison regime. The "fastest" ways to free the prisoners, insisted their elections candidate, Jéssica Albiach, are "pardons and reform of the crime of sedition". The CUP, on the other hand, criticized that after days of "marketing and rumours" about pardons, reforms and other "pacts behind closed doors", the state has shown its "real and raw" face.

Forcadell and Bassa regret finding out about the news from the media

Messages of encouragement have been sent over and over again by different sovereign personalities, especially directed to the former President of the Parliament, Carme Forcadell, and the former Minister Bassa, the only two prisoners condemned who had not been cautiously suspended from the open prison regime. Both have focused their initial reactions on criticising, above all, the ways in which the Supreme Court has acted: "We have learned that we have to go back into prison through the media", Forcadell criticised on Twitter, where she criticized that "the lack of respect" from the high court towards the prisoners and their families "is shameful".

"Carme and I got out of prison this morning and we called each other to say that it was OK, that we didn't have to come back until Wednesday, that we would be out of prison for five days because there was a bank holiday. But right now we still don't know if we have to go back to prison today, tomorrow or on Wednesday", added Bassa in RAC1. She assured that she had received the Supreme Court's ruling through the media: "My lawyer still hasn't received anything official". The cancelling of the open prison regime is now official, even though it could be appealed by the Constitutional Court.