Almost eight years of separatistic process in Catalonia, culminated in a failed declaration of independence in 2017, resulted in a sentence of nine to 13 years in prison on Monday for its main drivers and the revival of the euroorder of detention for the former president fled from Spanish justice, Carles Puigdemont. The Supreme Court gave one of the most complicated processes that it has faced. And he did it with convictions, yes, but above all by launching a depth charge against the drivers of the movement, whom he accuses of having wanted to carry out “a mere chimera” and a “deceptive artifice” that has been conditioning Spanish public life since 2012
The answer of the independentismo was of absolute rejection of the sentence, but from the institutional channels the calls to the disobedience were avoided. Yes there were openwork protests in the streets, especially with the blockade of the Barcelona airport by thousands of protesters. The sentence does not meet the expectations of almost anyone. It was far from the Prosecutor’s claims because the Supreme Court did not appreciate a sufficient degree of violence to support the existence of a crime of rebellion. Obviously, it did not satisfy the independence movement, which had already announced beforehand that it would only accept the acquittal of the now condemned. On the other hand, it is close to what the State Advocacy defended, which chose not to accuse the defendants of rebellion and sedition and embezzlement of public funds.
The convictions, in any case, motivated important protests of independence in the Catalan streets. The former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras faces the highest penalty, 13 years, for a crime of sedition with embezzlement of public funds. Of the other eight defendants in pretrial detention, three former counselors (Raül Romeva, Jordi Turull and Dolors Bassa) were sentenced for sedition and embezzlement to 12 years in jail. Two others (Josep Rull and Joaquim Forn) were acquitted of the crime of embezzlement, and the court imposed 10 and a half years in prison. The former president of the Parliament Carme Forcadell faces a sentence of 11 and a half years for sedition. For this same offense, a nine-year sentence was imposed on the leaders of the Catalan National Assembly and Cultural ,mnium, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart. The only three defendants who faced the trial in freedom (former advisers Santi Vila, Carles Mundó and Meritxell Borràs) were sentenced to one year and eight months of special disqualification and 10 months of fine with a daily fee of 200 euros.
The sentence is firm but the lawyers of the convicted have already put to work to exhaust the two possibilities of review of the ruling, either through an appeal for amparo before the Constitutional Court for violation of rights or a subsequent challenge before the Court European Human Rights.
The magistrates of the Supreme Court have tried to spin very fine at the time of attributing the crimes to each of the defendants and thus avoiding the idea that the prosecutor has been a “general cause against independence”, as parties and secessionist entities, beginning with the Catalan Government. This did not prevent the usual sophlamas of these sectors, especially the president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, upon hearing the sentence. The head of the Catalan Executive called the decision of the Supreme Court “antidemocratic” and said he considers it “an insult to democracy and a contempt for Catalans.” Despite the hardness of these messages, he avoided crossing the red line that would mean putting into practice the “civil and institutional disobedience” that he had cited in previous speeches. Nor did he want to enter into the debate of whether or not to comply with the sentence. This Monday he simply said that he “rejects” it.
With this speech Torra managed to combine the message of his Government, increasingly stressed by supporters of the hard line and the confrontation with the State, of which he is theoretically the highest representative in Catalonia, and the defenders of a certain pragmatism That avoids major disasters. In the background is the warning of the Central Executive in recent weeks about a hypothetical new intervention of self-government through article 155 of the Constitution or applying the National Security law to gain control of the Mossos. Today, in the Generalitat no one shows signs of wanting to risk that. Another thing is the multiple agitation groups that handle the threads of independence and that as soon as the sentence was known, they called to take to the streets and even to collapse key infrastructure such as Barcelona airport.
Pending the scope of the protests and the actions of the Generalitat, the Government of Pedro Sánchez opted for a contained response but trying to move away the idea of a pardon for the damned, at least in the short term.