The Spanish government has issued a statement from its delegate to Catalonia, Teresa Cunillera, following comments she made earlier today suggesting pardoning the Catalan political prisoners once the case over last year's independence referendum is over. Two ministers had already spoken out to distance themselves from the remarks: the minister of territorial administration, Meritxell Batet, and the treasury minister, María Jesús Montero.
On Catalunya Ràdio this morning, Cunillera said that "if they ask for pardons, I'm in favour of that, but they have to ask for it". The delegate made it clear that this could only happen once there is a final verdict on the case and would involve the prisoners accepting their guilt.
In her later statement, Cunillera expresses her respect "for the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers" and adds that "any speculation over what should happen after the sentence is premature". She says her comments about pardons have been "taken out of context".
The statement says the delegate supports "not talking about potential scenarios which don't help to solve the current problems", and "dismissed statements on 'hypotheses related with legal proceedings'". "Members of the public ask their politicians for the ability to overcome their differences and create frameworks for collaboration which result in the well-being of the majority, without breaking the law nor invading spaces within the purview of other institutions or powers".
PP and Cs had attacked the possibility of a pardon for the prisoners once they have been sentenced, accusing the Spanish government of being dependent on pro-independence Catalan parties.