You need to read right to the end of the dissenting opinion presented by the Constitutional Court judges Juan Antonio Xiol Ríos and María Luisa Balaguer Callejón on the Supreme Court's sentencing of Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez - to nine years' prison and the same period of disqualification from public office - in order to get to the kernel which, probably, will also end up being the thesis of the European judicial instances. The text of Xiol and Balaguer says the following: "The penal response, especially in terms of the severity imposed on the appellant, in the face of the mere summoning of events which, even if they intended to oppose the execution of court orders, had as their ultimate goal the placing of pressure on the Catalan government in favour of a political negotiation that would make it possible to address the issue of Catalonia's independence, is an interference with the right of assembly, and has a disastrously discouraging effect on this right, which threatens to impoverish our democracy, aligning us with societies disciplined through the abuse of the penal system to repress conduct relating to the material field of fundamental rights, and in short, moving us away from the need for a progressive interpretation and application of the rights that enable normal citizen participation in full democracies".
It is true that this is the view of only two members of the Constitutional Court, opposed to the majority of seven judges who approved the Supreme Court's conviction of Cuixart and Sànchez. But to have two constitutional judges who talk about a disastrously discouraging effect on the right of assembly, about the sentence impoverishing democracy, making comparisons with repressive societies on fundamental rights and alienating societies that are full and consolidated democracies - these are four punitive elements of colossal importance directed against Spain. The permanent reminder of what the European Court of Human Rights says is a constant throughout the twenty pages, as is also the reminders about European legal doctrine.
I have not found a single fissure in the entire dissenting vote which could let the members of the Supreme Court 's second chamber off the hook before European justice. This has long been evident with regard to the justice of the different countries of the Union that have had to deal with cases related to the exiled Catalan politicians. The rejections of the Spanish extradition orders that have occurred in cases such as, for example, that of former minister Lluís Puig, the election as MEPs of Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí and, more recently, their recovery of the full immunity which the European Parliament had withdrawn after pressure from the Spanish political groups in the Socialist, Conservative and Liberal political families.
It is no small point that the two constitutional judges have turned inside out the idea of a full and consolidated democracy, a concept often repeated by Felipe VI, the Spanish government, the PP, the regime's media and various spokespersons when referring to Spain. Cuixart and Sànchez would do well to send the dissenting opinion to all Spanish authorities. In Madrid it must sting, but it leaves the door of the Strasbourg court wide open.