The PP has tabled four amendments to the Council of Europe’s report on those convicted of the ‘procés’ that will be discussed today in Strasbourg to make it clear that in Spain there is a “solid” rule of law, that a trial was held “with all the guarantees” and that “they are not political prisoners”.
“The Popular Party will defend Spanish democracy and the decisions of the courts of justice in Strasbourg,” the deputy spokesman for Foreign Affairs of the Popular Group, Pablo Hispán, who will participate in this debate in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, told Europa Press.
These are four amendments to the report drafted by the Latvian Socialist Boris Cilevics, in which Spain is advised to reform the crime of sedition and to study other measures such as pardons to release imprisoned politicians and not to make it appear that freedom of expression is being punished, as Catalan pro-independence supporters have been claiming following the trial of prisoners for the illegal referendum of 1 October 2017.
The conclusion of the report is that “the mere expression of pro-independence views is not grounds for criminal prosecution”, but at the same time it underlines that several senior Catalan politicians were prosecuted and eventually sentenced to long prison terms for sedition and other crimes in support of the “unconstitutional referendum” on Catalan independence.
Hispán stressed that in its amendments the PP defends the transparency of the criminal proceedings against the accused and recalls that the Venice Commission demands that any referendum must be held in accordance with constitutional provisions, something which, he stressed, did not happen on 1 October 2017. “The Venice Commission establishes very clear guidelines for the holding of referendums,” he warned.
The PP also stresses in its amendments that pardons for politicians for crimes of “corruption” such as embezzlement “go against what has been approved by the GRECO Commission of the Council of Europe”, as Hispán pointed out.
The Popular Group deputy also stressed that pardons “can never be made for the political interests of the government”. “Embezzlement is a crime prosecuted by the European Parliament and GRECO”, he added.
Hispán stressed that his party wants to “disavow” this report with its amendments and focus on defending the rule of law in Spain and Spanish justice because there was “a trial with all the guarantees and they are not political prisoners”, but that “they have committed acts against the rule of law”.
The PP deputy foreign affairs spokesman said that, even if his amendments were accepted, his party would vote against the Cilevics report, an “à la carte” document which, in his opinion, is “contrary to the rule of law in Spain”.
He also called on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, to report on “what steps she has taken” to prevent a text of “these characteristics” from going forward, given that, in his opinion, nothing has been done.
According to her, the Executive of Pedro Sánchez seeks to “whiten and endorse” in Europe the steps he is going to take in Spain to grant pardons to the leaders of the ‘procés’, to open a “political” negotiating table with the Generalitat and to reform the crime of sedition.
Yesterday, in an interview in the newspaper La Vanguardia, González Laya stated that he detected an attitude of “respect and understanding” on the part of the European Union with regard to the pardons for the pro-independence leaders imprisoned for 1-O, as well as “a positive attitude towards a measure that can facilitate harmony and stability”.