Earlier this week, the prosecutors of the Spanish Supreme Court Javier Zaragoza, Jaime Moreno, Consuelo Madrigal and Fidel Cadena informed the Supreme Court that they oppose the pardons for the pro-independence political prisoners because they do not observe reasons of “justice, equity or utility.”
The prosecutors also warned that “the enormous gravity of the facts and the proportionality of the sentences imposed must be borne in mind.” In fact, they believe that the lack of “obedience to the law” indicates that the political prisoners would commit the same crime [holding a vote: giving people the power to decide their own future through an independence referendum] again.
According to the Public Ministry, “in any case, it seems obvious that one of the minimum requirements for granting pardons is the ascertainment of a manifest acceptance of responsibility for the crime committed and the determined purpose of not reoffending as evidence of compliance with the violated legality. None of these circumstances have been proven in the present case,” concluded the prosecutor.
Having heard the position of the prosecutors, the Supreme Court must now send its report, which, like that of the prosecutors, is mandatory but not binding on the Spanish government, which has the final decision in its hands.
NOTE: The Spanish Supreme Court and the presiding body of the judiciary have leaned towards far-right positions in the last few years.
On Tuesday, the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled by majority that insults to the Spanish flag are no longer considered freedom of expression, but a crime.
The divided Court was only able to pass the ruling by a single vote, but it established that indignities against the Spanish flag are crimes as they are not protected by the right to freedom of expression. It did so by dismissing an appeal filed by the trade union, Galician Intersindical Confederation, which was condemned for an offense against the flag in using phrases such as “here I heard the silence of the fucking flag” and “you have to set fire to the fucking flag.”
The trade union alleged that their freedom of expression has been violated. However, the court considered that these expressions were without the protection of fundamental rights.
Five of the court’s twelve judges voted against the decision: Andrés Ollero Tasara, Juan Antonio Xiol Ríos, Cándido Conde-Pumpido Tourón, Encarnación Roca Trías and María Luisa Balaguer Callejón.
Prestigious lawyers such as Gonzalo Boye are considering taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Last weekend, groups of neo-Nazis were seen in a demonstration organized by the Spanish far-right political party Vox, in Barcelona commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the Constitution.
The demonstration, led by the leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, only amassed some 200 people. Some of the attendees were seen showing the Nazi salute repeatedly and waving; neo-Nazi and National Identity Front – Workers’ National-Socialist Spanish Party (FNI-PNSOE) Flags.
Hate Crime to be Reported
Several organizations have announced their intention to report it to the police and prosecutors as a hate crime, arguing that expressing support for fascism is not freedom of expression, but a crime.
Catalonia’s Home Affairs Minister, Miquel Sàmper, said that the police are already gathering information for a report to be sent to the prosecutor. “Democratic institutions cannot leave any leeway for acts against the law, such as professing fascism, which surpass the limits of freedom of speech.”
These events come just a few days after the messages from several former and high-ranking members of the Spanish Air Force in a WhatsApp group were leaked, including one saying: “There is no choice but to start shooting 26 million sons of bitches.”
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, says that is problematic if states do not follow UN recommendations in reference to the Spanish State’s failure to comply with the resolution of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions calling for the release of Catalan pro-independence political prisoners.
The annual report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions of the UN, released in September, already recalled that Spain had not implemented its request to release seven of the nine Catalan political prisoners: Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Cuixart, Oriol Junqueras, Quim Forn, Josep Rull, Raül Romeva and Dolors Bassa.
The president of the UN Group, José Antonio Guevara, also insisted on the release of those seven political prisoners in the past and asked not to divert attention from this request, which he believed was “a most important issue.”