Esquerra Republicana secures the abolition of the crime of sedition with the approval of the reform of the Criminal Code in Congress

Gabriel Rufián, Esquerra’s spokesperson in the Spanish Congress, invokes the need to “legislate so that what should be done in the political sphere is never again subcontracted to justice,” and that with the passing of the new Criminal Code the state’s repressive capacity against independence has been limited

The Spanish Congress passed the reform of the new Criminal Code in its plenary session on Thursday. This incorporates the abolition of the crime of sedition and the reduction of penalties for misappropriation not involving personal or third-party gain. Gabriel Rufián summarized what Esquerra Republicana proposes with this reform, which is nothing other than “thinking about present and future generations and events” responding to a wish for independence, that “no matter how they put it, will not disappear.” And to be able to progress, he said, “we must legislate so that what should be done in the political sphere is never again subcontracted to justice.”

In a plenary session marked by an appeal before the Constitutional Court requesting extraordinary precautionary measures to stop the reform before it even begins to be debated in Congress – and which will finally be resolved next Monday – Mr Rufián began his speech ironically saying “I’m afraid that now Tejero, a colonel who attempted a putsch in 1981 himself, has entered in judges robes.”

The spokesman for the Esquerra Group recalled that in Catalonia there are two million people who “vote pro-independence options” and the reform, also negotiated by Esquerra, “is about conveying this desire, this political option, which is not a crime.” In short, to equip ourselves with instruments to limit the ability of judges to make “artful” use of the law in their ambition to suppress the pro-independence movement.

Mr Rufián defended the referendum again and alluded to the crime of misappropriation, saying that comparing a self-determination referendum with the Gürtel or the Lezo cases, examples of political corruption plots, is inconceivable. Addressing the chamber, he asked “Is it a crime for an elected official to convey the desire of the vast majority of the citizens of Catalonia to be able to vote and who understands that things should not be solved with blows with truncheons?”

As is mandatory, the bill must now pass through the Senate before returning to Congress for final approval if any amendments are included in the upper house. All depending on what the Constitutional Court may rule, which could nullify the coming into force of the law if the appeal presented by the People’s Party succeeds, including an amendment on a new system of election of its members, in an attempt to solve the deadlock in the Court, with appointments pending for years.

Regarding the Constitutional controversy and the parallels of today’s episode with what happened in the Parliament of Catalonia on the way to the 1st October 2017 referendum, dictating resolutions and threats against parliamentary debate and resolutions, Esquerra’s spokesman said “When you see your neighbour’s beard burn, soak yours!” an adage meaning one should learn from other’s mistakes. “We are simply a spoiler alert. You are next, and we already warned you. Now they are going against you,” he said.