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Spain’s contested Catalan amnesty invoice comes into impact

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Carles Puigdemont (2nd R), the exiled Catalan separatist chief and Spanish member of the European Parliament. File
| Photo Credit: AFP

A controversial amnesty legislation for Catalan separatists concerned in a botched 2017 secession bid got here into impact on June 11 in Spain, with judges now charged to use the measure.

The legislation, which was authorised by parliament on May 30 and is predicted to have an effect on round 400 folks, got here into pressure after it was printed in Spain’s official gazette. The most high-profile and controversial beneficiary is Carles Puigdemont.

The former president of Catalonia led the 2017 secession drive within the rich northeastern area of Spain earlier than going into self-exile in Belgium, the place he has resided ever since. An amnesty would permit him to return to Spain.

Judges may have two months wherein to use it on a case by case foundation.

Many judges are against the amnesty they usually could refer it to Spain’s Constitutional Court or the European Court of Justice.

“A new battle begins,” Jordi Turull, secretary common of Mr. Puigdemont’s hardline separatist JxCAT social gathering, mentioned on X. He predicted “the application of the law” by some judges “will not be easy but sooner or later we will succeed”.

Catalonia’s different main separatist social gathering, the extra average ERC, mentioned that round 30 of its members had utilized for amnesty.

They embody Oriol Junqueras, who was sentenced to 13 years in jail for his function within the secession try earlier than he was pardoned by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s authorities in 2021.

The battle over the amnesty legislation has dominated Spanish politics because the common election in July 2023. Right-wing critics have staged common road protests in opposition to it.

Mr. Sanchez, who had opposed the legislation previously, agreed to grant the amnesty in alternate for acquiring assist from Catalan separatist events in parliament. That assist was important for him to win reappointment for an additional four-year time period in workplace after the inconclusive common election.

Under Mr. Puigdemont’s watch, the regional authorities of Catalonia pressed forward with a referendum on independence on October 1, 2017, regardless of the transfer having been banned by the courts.

Nearly a month later, Catalonia’s regional parliament declared independence, prompting Spain’s central authorities to impose direct rule on the area.

The occasions triggered the nation’s greatest political disaster because the creation of democracy following the loss of life of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975.

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