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The report by the Council of Europe calling for the release of the pro-independence political prisoners and the withdrawal of the arrest warrants for Catalan politicians in exile, has touched a raw nerve in the Spanish judiciary. It feels under attack. That is why this Wednesday, the day after the Spanish executive announced the pardons, the standing committee of the General Council of the Judiciary has released a statement which it had passed unanimously. Spain's judicial governing body "deplores" the report, both for the assessment it makes of the situation of the convicted pro-independence politicians and for its demand for the withdrawal of European Arrest Warrants.

The document consists of four points, but only one is "positive". It is the first, in which the judiciary notes that "the Assembly recognizes that Spain is a living democracy, with a culture of free and open public debate and where the mere expression of pro-independence opinions is not grounds for criminal persecution." Its also quotes the report statement that "the Assembly fully respects the constitutional order of Spain." However, from there, the rebukes of the Council of Europe begin.


On the one hand, the governing body of the Spanish judges focuses on section 9 of the motion, which states that the prisoners were convicted "among other things for statements made in the exercise of their political mandates." On this point, the council defends that "they were convicted after a public trial and with all the procedural guarantees". And it adds: “Catalan secessionist politicians were in no way convicted for their political ideas nor for their free expression. Nor for the legitimate exercise of the right of assembly and demonstration in support of their beliefs and convictions."

As well, the Spanish judiciary "deplores" the "recommendations addressed to Spanish judges" that they consider dropping extradition proceedings against pro-independence leaders abroad. With the approval of these statements, the judicial body concludes, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe "ignores the principles of legality, separation of powers, judicial independence and equality in the application of the law."

Pro-independence parties acting together in Congress

The Catalan prisoners are now free, but for the independence movement, much more is needed. And this has only been accentuated even more after the devastating report passed on Monday by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, which called not only for the release of the Catalan prisoners, but also the withdrawal of European Arrest Aarrants against the pro-independence politicians in exile. In this context, Catalan parties ERC, Junts, PDeCAT and the CUP have today lodged a request for Pedro Sánchez to appear before the Congress of Deputies to "explain how he intends to materialize the demands contained in the report approved this Monday by the Council of Europe ". The request is expected to be blocked by the PSOE.