The decision of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court on the third degrees granted to prisoners sentenced by the independence process is a bath of light amid so much gloom created by Catalan separatism and the Government coalition. The magistrates presided over by Manuel Marchena have resolved that Oriol Junqueras and the others convicted of sedition and embezzlement do not yet deserve the third degree of prison and that the legal thing is that they continue in jail. This is the first message in a series of proceedings that opportunely recomposes the scenario where the rule of law has been degraded and expelled from institutional life due to the political choices of Pablo Iglesias and Pedro Sánchez. The negotiation of the Budgets and the consolidation of the majority of leftists and separatists has been articulated, among other factors, on the delegitimization of Justice, the Judiciary and judicial independence.
Iglesias and Sánchez’s pact with ERC aspired to an absolute emptying of the sentence imposed on the main leaders of this party. The immediate pardon and the decriminalization of the crime of sedition for which Junqueras and other seditious were convicted were fixed values in the equation of the new “progressive” majority and its assault on the rule of law. The irruption of these orders – issued at the rate of this judicial body, that is, with full independence – allows public opinion to return to the hopeful reality that there are still judges in Spain.
The Second Chamber has done nothing but put legal lyrics to the music of common sense: Junqueras and the others convicted of 1-O have only been in jail for a short time, their sentences are due to very serious crimes and their releases were based on reasons unrelated to the right sense of reintegration. The decisions of the Supreme Court contain a technical reasoning, but very clear, and also offer two substantive statements that transcend the purely jurisdictional.
The first is that the Generalitat cannot use its powers in penitentiary matters to reinterpret the sentence handed down and reduce the criminal consequences that this court imposed on those convicted. The magistrates are fully correct with this warning, because their decision was not a judicial interference in a political problem, but a judicial response to some criminal acts. There is nothing more dangerous in a democracy than the speech of those who see only a political issue where the judges see a crime. This idea that what matters is the political will and not the Penal Code is usually typical of the offender or his accomplices. The problem is that it is a slogan that the Government itself has endorsed, as demonstrated by the Minister of Justice when he recognized that the reform of sedition is a response to the sentences for 1-O.
The second message must be heard in the government and in the EU. The Chamber uses lapidary phrases – make things very clear – to highlight that Junqueras and company are not in prison for being independentists, but for being criminals. For this reason, he opportunely recalls that in Catalonia the same party to which Junqueras belongs governs, which destroys the victimhood of the Catalan separatists, whose lies are better received in La Moncloa than in the European institutions. Beyond the charlatanism of the official spokesmen, the truth is that the Government’s interlocutors are still a convicted terrorist like Arnaldo Otegui, and some seditious in prison.