Carlota Guindal, 13 January 2023
The leaders of the procès supporters convicted by the Supreme Court – Àlex Garcia / Own
Prosecutors are considering aggravated public disorder for those convicted of the crime of procés
They are preparing their brief to the Supreme Court to review the sentence for 1-O following the repeal of the crime of sedition.
Prosecutors are already studying how to review the 1-O sentence once the reform of the Penal Code has come into force, which has repealed the crime of sedition, for which nine pro-independence leaders were convicted, including the former vice-president of the Generalitat Oriol Junqueras. The representatives of the Public Prosecutor’s Office are considering the option of demanding that the sentence for sedition be replaced by that of aggravated public disorder, as explained by legal sources.
The Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court yesterday gave the parties eight days to decide how to review the sentence, which sentenced the leaders of the procès leaders to sentences of up to 13 years in prison. In the coming days, the Prosecutor’s Office will deliver its brief to try to reduce the sentences as little as possible by applying the new reform. However, the defences have already announced that they will request acquittal as they consider that there is no longer sedition and therefore the crime of embezzlement of public funds should be banished.
The criteria used by the prosecutors is partially contrary to that shown yesterday by the investigating judge Pablo Llarena, who modified the accusation for the five defendants who have not yet been tried as they are not in Spain, as is the case of the former president Carles Puigdemont. In any case, the last word will be for the Chamber, whose rapporteur is Manuel Marchena.
Disobedience or public disorder
Llarena understands that after the repeal of sedition, the facts are limited to mere disobedience, which does not carry a prison sentence but only disqualification. He does not think the same with the embezzlement charge, which he has considered that the aggravated form with profit motive should be maintained because money was diverted from the Generalitat for personal gain, which was the organisation of a banned referendum in pursuit of the proclamation of independence for Catalonia.
Prosecutors do defend, a priori, this criterion on embezzlement, which, when aggravated, could lead to sentences of up to 12 years in prison, with disqualification ranging from ten to twenty years.
Where they might differ from Llarena is in the criterion on the application of the crime of aggravated public disorder, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. In the open debate, they consider that the proven facts of the sentence, handed down in October 2019, establish that there were tumultuous acts and that is why, among other elements, the crime of sedition was established.
As is being considered, if it is already proven that these events took place, there could be no room for impunity.
Moreover, those in favour of this option maintain that the legislator’s idea with the reform that came into force yesterday was to be able to replace sedition with aggravated public disorder.
In a recent interview on TVE, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, pointed out that the Penal Code now establishes disqualification penalties for both aggravated public disorder and embezzlement, in such a way that, “adding these two penalties, it adds up to the possibility of 14 years of disqualification”.
Llarena rejected this option because the facts do not fit either the current wording or the wording that was in force when the events took place in 2017. In his opinion, an aggravating circumstance cannot be applied when it was not contemplated in the Criminal Code at the time of the events.
If the prosecution’s thesis finally moves towards this option, it could even appeal the order of the investigator to try to modify the arrest warrants for Puigdemont and the former ministers Toni Comin and Lluis Puig and introduce the crime of public disorder to the already established crimes of disobedience and embezzlement of public funds.