Spanish Congress votes on amnesty for Catalan separatists

Madrid, Jan 30 (EFE).– Spanish lawmakers were set to vote on an amnesty law to pardon Catalan separatists as negotiations continued until the last moment, focusing on addressing crimes such as terrorism.

The Socialist Party PSOE, which governs Spain in coalition with the left-wing party Sumar, tabled the bill in the lower house of parliament after an expedited procedure following negotiations with Catalan independence groups.

Negotiations are ongoing as Catalan separatists demand changes to ensure that the amnesty law does not exclude anyone involved in the secessionist movement in Catalonia.

The Congress-approved bill will go to the Senate, where the conservative Popular Party holds a majority, potentially causing a delay in its approval.

A key point is how amnesty for crimes like terrorism is structured to align with European legislation.

As of now, the agreement between the socialists and separatists specifies that terrorism cannot be pardoned when it has caused “serious human rights violations,” particularly acts covered by the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the right to life and the prohibition of torture.

Additionally, judges are obligated to “immediately” lift precautionary measures and arrest warrants, even if the criminal procedure is pending, for reasons such as an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Former Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont, who fled Spanish justice after the unilateral declaration of independence in 2017, faces terrorism charges by a judge of the Spanish National Court.

The votes of Junts, Puigdemont’s party, also a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), are crucial for the approval, as was its parliamentary support to enable Pedro Sanchez to begin a new term as prime minister in mid-November.

Junts and other Catalan independence and Basque nationalist groups, whose votes are equally necessary, advocate for amnesty for all terrorist crimes committed within the framework of the secessionist movement.

The proposed law aims to erase crimes related to the independence process committed between January 1, 2012, and November 13, 2023. The Senate has up to two months to approve it.

The law may come into force in April once it returns to Congress for final approval. EFE


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