Today, Sanchez gave a speech in the capital of Catalonia, “Reunification: a project for the future of the whole of Spain”, during which he presented a “road map” for the future of that region in northeastern Spain, in front of several hundred representatives of the civil sector.
He stated that the Government will adopt a decision on pardoning Catalan separatists tomorrow.
Twelve separatist Catalan leaders were convicted of rebellion and other acts against the constitutional order, nine of whom received several years in prison for organizing a banned referendum on Catalonia’s independence and declaring secession in October 2017.
Most Catalans who are in favor of staying in Spain boycotted the referendum, marked by rude police actions aimed at preventing it from taking place.
None of the well-known supporters of Catalonia’s independence attended today’s gathering in Barcelona, and leading separatist Catalan groups protested in front of the opera house, where Sanchez spoke.
Sanchez’s speech was interrupted by an activist who called for amnesty for convicted separatists instead of pardon. The difference is that pardon reduces the sentence of convicts, while amnesty is considered a confession that the crime was not even committed.
Sanchez did not state whether the pardons would apply to all or part of the sentences of nine to 13 years, to which the separatists were sentenced. After the Government adopts the pardon decisions tomorrow, King Felipe VI must sign them, and then the Supreme Court will issue individual judgments for each of the pardoned persons.
The decision of the Government to pardon the Catalan separatists, which Sanchez announced earlier, provoked quite violent reactions on the Spanish political scene.
The pardons were backed in Spain by the powerful Roman Catholic Church and leading business associations, but are opposed by the Supreme Court, as are more than 60 percent of citizens surveyed, including half of Sanchez’s voters in previous parliamentary elections.
Thousands of people gathered at a recent protest in Madrid over the announcement of a pardon, backed by three opposition parties, demanding Sanchez’s resignation.
Opposition People’s Party leader Pablo Cassado today accused Sanchez of obeying separatist pressure to secure the support of Catalan lawmakers in the Spanish parliament, and thus remain in power.