U-turn of Spain’s judiciary on pardon of Catalan political prisoners

Supreme Court allows appeals against pardons after change of tribunal composition

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Political prisoners exiting Lledoners prison in June 2021
VilaWeb / Catalan News Agency
25.05.2022 - 09:41
Actualització: 13.06.2022 - 10:05

The Spanish Supreme Court has reversed its decision to uphold the pardons for the formerly jailed Catalan independence leaders. On Tuesday, the tribunal voted in favor of allowing the appeals against the pardons to go ahead. The decision happened after a change in the composition of the court. The court revoked the ruling from January 2022, with the vote of three judges against two.

Now, appeals filed by the political parties of the People’s Party (PP), far-right VOX and Ciudadanos will be taken into consideration. The only appeal that has been unanimously rejected is the one from the Pro Patrimonium Sijena y Jerusalén association, a civil society group that had lobbied for the Sixena artwork in Catalonia to be returned to Aragon.

Sánchez issued a pardon for the imprisoned politicians and activists, who had been sentenced to 9 to 13 years behind bars for the events leading up to the 2017 referendum deemed illegal by Spain, last June in what he called an effort to encourage “reconciliation.” The nine politicians and activists were found guilty of sedition and spent around 3 and a half years in prison, including lengthy pre-trial detentions.

While the pardons fell short of the independence movement’s demands for a general amnesty and a referendum on self-determination, the Catalan government did welcome them for helping to “ease the pain” caused by the “unfair” sentencing.

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