Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida 11/12/2020
In the midst of the noise of whatsaps (rather than sabers), the judiciary has closed the door to easing the prison of the independence leaders. The Supreme Court only leaves room for pardon, or other procedures that the executive or legislative powers may enable. The revocation of the third degree to the prisoners has been described by the independence movement as “a revenge.” And in those more radicalized sectors, as a sign of “the application of the enemy’s penitentiary law.”
But while it is true that both the sentence, from which the prison sentence derives, and the recent resolution are as debatable as they are respectable, the error is maintained of hoping that justice will provide the solution for the prisoners and collaborate with it to turn the page of a stage of deep political and social tension. The previous government should not have subrogated its responsibilities in the courts, and now the independence movement and a part of the coalition that governs in Spain cannot claim that justice is the one to solve the issue.
The strength of a state under the rule of law is due to both its rigor and its generosity. Of course, it is abnormal that in a state under the rule of law there are leaders of democratic parties who are serving prison sentences linked to their political action! But it is not normal that in a democracy, in which it is even considered legitimate to pursue the rupture of the constitutional system, procedures are used and acts are carried out that violate the Constitution and the Statute, that is, the law! So perhaps it is already the definitive moment in which, from politics, the decisions (right or wrong) of justice are stopped being used in a partisan way and actively work in the search for a solution for the imprisoned politicians, as a factor of detente that allows channeling a solution to the Catalan dispute.
The strength of a state under the rule of law is due to both its rigor and its generosity. This principle should already be sufficient to integrate all the democrats of the whole of Spain in the search for a solution. Even so, since it does not seem that generosity is sufficient incentive (some out of haughtiness despise it and others out of arrogance do not practice it), we must remind everyone that as long as there is no way out for the prisoners, it will not be open either a way that allows the resolution of the dispute. And at this extreme, only the blindness of short-termism and partisanship can prevent us from seeing that the current situation is a tear for Catalonia and for the whole of Spain. Yes, for both! I have written it on many occasions: those who believe that this situation only harms Spain as well as those who think that it only harms Catalonia are wrong.
The seriousness of the pandemic cannot postpone the purpose of reversing the current disagreement within Catalan society and between a fraction of it and a part of the Spanish one. It will not be easy, but the time has come to give it a try. The data offered by the GDA3 surveys for La Vanguardia and the CIS’s own barometers attest to the difficulties that politics will encounter in this endeavor. The contrast between the dominant positions in the whole of Spain and those registered in Catalonia does not offer any room for doubt. In Spain, the percentage of those who consider that the sentence that the Supreme Court issued in its day is fair is equivalent to that which rejects the pardon as a possible solution. Nearing 70%, it is the same proportion that in Catalonia is dissatisfied with the ruling of the Supreme Court and favorable to the measure of grace for the imprisoned. From Spanish politics, and in particular from its state leaders, we must hope that they understand that the pardon is no less legitimate than the sentence was: both coexist in the Constitution.
Regarding Catalan politics, and especially the independence leaders, we must aspire to make them understand that efforts must be made on both sides. It is true that a part of those who yearn for the liberation of the imprisoned politicians manifest their sentimental connection with the behaviors that subverted the constitutional order. But it was so wrong to consider that all those who supported the so-called right to decide were supporters of independence, as now it would be wrong to identify those who would like the prisoners to return to their homes as defenders of impunity for conduct that transgresses the law. .
The Government intends to modify the crime of sedition, it being true that in comparative law there are no comparable types to the one regulated by our Penal Code. But regardless of this commitment, it will have to resolve the various petitions for clemency. Even though it is not easy, as I already said, this seems the most appropriate way. Of course, it would not hurt for those affected to help if not with their repentance, at least with their purpose or commitment to amend: the reaffirmation of independence as their objective, but with explicit rejection of unilateralism.