By sentencing nine Catalan politicians to a total 100 years in prison for “sedition” over nonviolent resistance, Madrid has made them martyrs and signed its death warrant, former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond told RT.
The Spanish court’s sentencing of nine Catalan politicians to between nine and 13 years in prison each for the archaic offense of sedition over their peaceful efforts to achieve independence “will be a day of democratic infamy as far as Spain is concerned,” Salmond told RT on Monday. Worse – for Spain, at least – it is a sign that Spanish control of the province is coming to an end.
The sentences were “antidemocratic, oppressive and totally counterproductive” for the Spanish government, because “now [the pro-independence politicians] will achieve martyrdom,” Salmond explained.
This is the day that these Spanish judges actually sealed the fate of the Spanish state. I don’t see the Catalan crisis ending now anywhere except in Catalan independence.
The Catalans were found guilty of sedition, but not rebellion, the most serious of the charges they faced over the 2017 declaration of independence. The secession attempt followed a referendum, banned by the Madrid government, that saw 90 percent of Catalans vote for independence despite a heavy-handed crackdown on those 42 percent who turned out to polls.
The Supreme Court declared all defendants were all involved in “undeniable” acts of violence during the uprising, while they countered they were on trial for their ideas and not their actions and had merely sought to give Catalan citizens a voice.
Salmond slammed the government’s “oppressive” use of the judicial system to “silence their political opponents,” noting it “will have exactly the opposite effect” – and sure enough, the streets of Barcelona were packed with protesters outraged over the verdict.
Slamming Madrid for its archaic definition of “sedition” as a crime even in the absence of violence, Salmond called for the government to be put on trial over its “undemocratic actions” and predicted that Catalan politicians would obtain justice in the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg, where they will appeal the verdict. As First Minister, Salmond led the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.
When elected politicians use unelected judges to sentence other elected politicians to 100 years between the nine of them, then things have reached a point which cannot be sustained, and the Spanish state I don’t think will survive this outrage.
Salmond’s words echoed those of Catalan Republican Left party leader Oriol Junqueras, who received the longest prison term of the group, 13 years. Upon his sentencing, Junqueras said independence for Catalonia was “closer than ever.”
Carlos Puigdemont, the former Catalan premier who led the 2017 bid for independence, tweeted in solidarity from Belgium, where he fled to avoid arrest after the uprising, calling the verdict an “atrocity.”
Spain has thus far been unsuccessful in convincing other European countries to extradite Puigdemont and his fellow Catalan pro-independence politicians, but that did not stop the Supreme Court from reactivating a European arrest warrant for him following Monday’s sentencing.
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