Spain39s Supreme Court will investigate Carles Puigdemont for terrorism

Spain's Supreme Court will investigate Carles Puigdemont for terrorism

A demonstration in Strasbourg in 2019 (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, File)

The judges consider the Catalan independence activist to be the leader of the movement that blocked Barcelona airport in 2019: the decision complicates negotiations on the amnesty law

Spain's Supreme Court, a high court based in Madrid, will open an investigation into Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont on terrorism charges. The decision was made on Thursday after a unanimous vote and concerns the case of the so-called “Democratic Tsunami”, a series of protests and demonstrations that followed the prison sentences in 2019 of some of the Catalan separatist leaders who supported the secessionist 2017 referendum.

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in Spain and contradicted the decision of the prosecutor of the same court, who a few weeks ago rejected the request to investigate Puigdemont on the grounds that there was not enough evidence to link him to the court Protagonist group of the protests. The terrorism investigation will complicate ongoing negotiations between Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialist Party and pro-independence group Junts per Catalunya to secure a full amnesty for Catalan independence activists and those involved in the illegal October 2017 referendum.

The amnesty is the main element of the government agreement reached in November between Sánchez's Socialist Party and the Junts, whose votes were crucial in giving Sánchez a new mandate and passing every law in parliament. The amnesty law would provide for the removal of “criminal, administrative and accounting responsibility” for more than 300 independence leaders and activists accused of various crimes, as well as 73 police officers on trial for excessive force against independence demonstrators during the days of the War of Independence are in the 2017 referendum.

Spain39s Supreme Court will investigate Carles Puigdemont for terrorism

A demonstration against amnesty in 2023 (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, File)

The Supreme Court considers that there is evidence that Puigdemont is the “absolute leader” of the Democratic Tsunami Independence Platform, which is defined as an “organized group of a terrorist nature.” In the same case, MP Rubén Wagensberg from the Republican Left Party of Catalonia (ERC) is also being investigated.

In 2019, Tsunami Democratico organized a series of protests involving thousands of people following condemnations of pro-independence activists. In one of them, Barcelona airport was blocked, there were clashes with police and over 100 flights were canceled. According to the judges of the Court, these acts should be considered “street terrorism” since their aim was “to undermine the constitutional order, undermine the functioning of international bodies and provoke a state of terror among the population or part of it.” It” .

On January 30, the expected amnesty law was surprisingly rejected in the Spanish Congress, the lower house of parliament. The law faces strong opposition from the center-right opposition and is highly controversial since, according to part of public opinion, it would be an excessive concession to a movement that directly attacked the Spanish constitution with the 2017 referendum. However, it was rejected in Congress, partly because Junts voted against it, who instead found it inadequate because it did not protect activists from terrorism charges.

– Also read: Has Sánchez made too many concessions to the Catalan independents?

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