First modification: 06/23/2021 – 14:19
The nine independence leaders pardoned by the government of Spain were released from prison this Wednesday with the intention of continuing “fighting for the independence of Catalonia,” as they expressed in their speeches to those gathered outside the prisons. The will to continue the independence struggle clashes with the reason argued by Sánchez for granting pardons: “to reestablish concord” with Catalonia.
This Wednesday, after three and a half years in prison, the nine independence leaders imprisoned after the unilateral referendum on the independence of Catalonia in 2017 were released. The government of Spain approved last Tuesday the “reviewable and conditional” pardons with which the sentences commuted. of the prisoners, sentenced by the Supreme Court to prison terms and disqualification of between 9 and 13 years for embezzlement and sedition. A sentence issued on October 14, 2019 that lit the Catalan capital for several nights.
Dozens of people gathered outside the Lledoners prison, in Catalonia, to receive the 7 male inmates: the former vice president of the Generalitat, Oriol Junqueras; the former counselor of the presidency, Jordi Turull; former foreign minister, Raül Romeva; former interior minister, Joaquim Forn; former regional councilor, Josep Rull; and the two leading activists of the civil associations Omnium Cultural and ANC, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sánchez. They were also received at the exit of the prisons of Wad Ras, in Barcelona, and of Puig de les Basses, in Figueres, the former president of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell and the former minister of social affairs, Dolors Bassa.
“Our commitment to finish what we started on October 1 is neither partial nor reviewable”
Before the ovations of those present, the leaders chained speeches with an unequivocal message: they are released with the same convictions with which they were imprisoned, “fight for the freedom of Catalonia.” “The Republic is not an option, it is a necessity,” said the former Catalan foreign minister, Raül Romeva. “They have given us a conditional, reviewable, partial pardon. But our commitment to completing what we started on October 1 is neither partial nor reviewable, ”said former Vice-President, Jordi Turull.
“We want to translate into politics something that should never have left the realm of politics. Today we will meet with our loved ones. And tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and until the day of victory we will continue working with the whole world, without excluding anyone, to make the dream of the Catalan Republic come true ”, exclaimed the former Catalan vice president, Oriol Junqueras.
The seven independentistas thanked those present for not ceasing the fight for their freedom. “We have never felt alone,” they repeated in all parliaments, also remembering exiles Carles Puigdemont, Marta Rovira or Anna Gabriel, among the many reprisals for causes related to the pro-independence mobilizations.
Pardons as a political instrument in the Madrid – Barcelona relationship
The pardons are a political measure, not a legal one, applauded by Europe, which the president of the government of Spain argued with the desire to “start from scratch” in the relationship with the institutions and the Catalan people. In the coming weeks, the dialogue table between Madrid and Barcelona, which was suspended due to the pandemic and the Catalan elections, must be resumed.
However, the decision collides with the most conservative wings of the Spanish political spectrum, which, like the Popular Party, come to ask for Sánchez’s resignation. On the other hand, it should be remembered that the far-right party VOX was a popular accusation in the trial against the Catalans.
In addition, certain pro-independence sectors consider the pardon insufficient and demand amnesty, “the only global solution”, according to the current president of the Catalan government, the independentist of ERC Pere Aragonès. In addition, the pro-independence leaders recall that the pardons do not respond to the Catalan people’s demands for self-determination.
This is what Carme Forcadell pointed out when leaving prison: “What we want is amnesty. Today is a day of joy. Of joy especially for those of us who have been released from prison and from our families. But joy is not complete, it is not it is because what we want is the end of the repression. That all the retaliated people can go out, like us, freely, without fear, until the exiles can return. “
The independence prisoners have been pardoned by the government of Spain in the hope that the gesture will stabilize the situation in Catalonia, since among other things the Pedro Sánchez executive requires the support of the independence forces to gain a majority in the Spanish parliament.
On the other hand, the “freedom of political prisoners” has been the claim that since the frustrated culmination in 2017 of the independence process has united the movement. Beyond the opposition to the repression of the State, there are strong internal discrepancies in the independence movement, on which way to go to reach the Republic and to what extent to respect the dialogue with Madrid.
In fact, the speeches on leaving prison are out of tune with the letters and publications of leaders such as Oriol Junqueras, who from prison recognized that any independence process is bilateral by definition.