The Supreme Court’s decision to suspend the third degree granted by the Generalitat to the procés prisoners and the proximity of an election have prompted an already existing debate in society about the demands for pardon and amnesty towards politicians in prison.
The two legal instruments are used politically, but with different formalities. The independence movement considers that the only way to start from scratch is amnesty as the way to rehabilitate the lost rights of those who are serving a sentence, while the Government of Sánchez (there is no unanimous position) feels more comfortable in the pardon.
To forgive or rehabilitate, we must be clear about what we are forgiving or whom we are rehabilitating
First it would be necessary to specify the differences between one and the other: pardon means forgiveness and amnesty, rehabilitating. From a political point of view, we are talking about antagonistic questions that are far from those positions that do not accept, under any circumstances, the possibility of any of these options.
To forgive or rehabilitate, it is necessary to be clear, especially from a political point of view, about what we are forgiving or whom we are rehabilitating. Is it plausible to forgive a person whose fault is being independentist? Absolutely not. Democratic Spain, that one which was built from the articles of the Constitution, protects ideological freedom. Thus, one is free to want the separation of any of its territories, to form political parties that defend those positions and to freely vote for independence ideas.
Is it logical in a full democracy to rehabilitate those who hold positions contrary to the State model? Again absolutely not, if their way of acting has moved within the legal parameters. Giovanni Sartori recalled in his book What is democracy? , a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci: “Practice must always be built on good theory”. Practice refers to doing politics, theory to its laws.
In many cases, politics ignores the laws. It finds a way to turn them around and turn them into a contemporary action. I mean to practice them in the moment. But when that happens it must go through majority approval. We speak of the vast majority. And that is not what happened in Catalonia during those months of the so-called procés.
What happened on October 1 was not a coup. Those things no longer happen. Those days were a blow to legality, which is not the same. Those were days when the theory, as Da Vinci said, was trampled on to sabotage, shake and rock the laws passed by a more than qualified majority.
And that is the point. The question is neither forgive nor rehabilitate any of the politicians imprisoned for being pro-independent regional ministers. The focus is on whether justice can pardon or amnesty for seizing the laws decided by that majority and kicking them into an inhospitable void, with the conviction, moreover, that they would do it again. Of course it would be better out of jail. Disqualified for life. But at home.