Independence movement unites to obtain amnesty

Parties and organizations present an amnesty bill, which will be brought to Spain’s Congreso with the expectation of resolving the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain

A common front for amnesty. Pro-independence parties Esquerra Republicana, JxCat, PdeCat and CUP, along with civic organizations and associations, including Òmnium Cultural and Amnistia i Llibertat, have come to an agreement to gain amnesty for almost 3,000 victims of retribution, convicted or prosecuted by the Spanish state in the general cause against independence since 2013. A draft agreement was already presented a few days ago at the Parliament of Catalonia, and this week it has gone a step further with the presentation of an amnesty bill which sets out the reasons for requesting this political solution, and which will be submitted to Spain’s Congreso on the 15th of March.

In the bill, the parties and organizations state that “a society that seeks to advance from a democratic point of view must recover a political path as a priority for resolving conflicts of a political nature.” That is why, according to the draft, “the best instrument to construct a solution is to end the judicialization of the conflict and the exclusively penal approach by the powers and institutions of the state, with an amnesty for all those condemned and under prosecution.”

In addition, the document vindicates amnesty as a successful formula for resolving political conflicts over the years: “Amnesty is an initiative that differs from the right of pardon by its parliamentary nature, and has been a tradition in Europe, as it is understood today, since the 18th century.” Several historical amnesty processes around the world are cited, such as that which took place in Portugal in 1996 exonerating representatives of a revolutionary organization, amongst which was one of the heroes of the 1974 Carnation Revolution.

We contend that an amnesty will likewise resolve the political conflict in Catalonia with freedom and self-determination.
Marta Rovira Exiled-Secretary General of Esquerra Republicana

The bill was presented in Barcelona’s old Model prison by representatives from each organization, amongst which was Esquerra’s Secretary General Marta Rovira, who from her exile in Geneva emphasized that amnesty has been the solution in most political conflicts around the world: “We contend that an amnesty will likewise resolve the political conflict in Catalonia with freedom and self-determination.” Esquerra’s Deputy Secretary General and spokeswoman Marta Vilalta stressed in the same vein that “amnesty is the first step in de-judicializing politics and framing a democratic solution to the political conflict, with the annulment of all the open cases and the end of the persecution of the independence movement.”

The political parties and social organizations have encouraged making amnesty the clamour of a nation. In just four months, 40,000 signatures for amnesty have been collected thanks to the Amnistia i Llibertat association.