Supreme Court dragging Spain to “international shame,” says jailed MP Sànchez
The pro-independence leader urges to avoid snap election and says MP Artadi has his “support” for potential presidential bid
The jailed pro-independence MP Jordi Sànchez believes that the Spanish Supreme Court is dragging Spain to “one of its largest shames before the international community, and especially before the European and international courts.” This, after judges in Madrid twice rejected allowing him to use his political rights as an MP in his bid to be sworn in as Catalan president in the past few weeks. He was not allowed to take part in an investiture debate in person or via video link.
UN resolution on Sànchez
This, even though the UN Human Rights Council “urged” Spain to take precautionary measures to guarantee Sànchez’s “political rights” in a resolution in March. Indeed, Sànchez said in an exclusive interview with the Catalan News Agency that the Spanish Supreme Court “continues violating the UN resolution” because it is still blocking his presidential bid. “It is obvious that the precautionary measures of the UN were obliging Spain,” he added.
European Court of Human Rights
Sànchez believes that the Spanish judges know that the image of the country is being harmed and that “in some years” the European Court of Human Rights will make some call on the judges’ actions. Yet he thinks that now, “their current mission is to literally decapitate the people they consider to be the ones responsible” for the referendum. “They think this way they will end up with what they call pro-independence challenge, but they are showing a great ignorance of the Catalan reality.” According to Sànchez, “once they have eliminated the ones now in prison and exile, they will realize that the political problem is where it was, with new leaderships.” For him, the only solution is to hold an agreed referendum on independence.
"Once they have eliminated the ones now in prison and exile, they will realize that the political problem is where it was, with new leaderships"
Jordi Sànchez · Jailed Junts per Catalunya MP
Jordi Sànchez, who has spent almost 200 days in pre-trial prison, was barred twice from his presidential bid from jail. But the Spanish judiciary had granted this political right to an ETA MP in the eighties while also behind bars. “Spain feels weaker with the democratic demand of self-determination in Catalonia than with the same demand exercised by ETA with violence,” he said. According to him, judges see more risk with his potential speech in Parliament than with ETA’s weapons.
Snap election deadline looming
In his interview with the Catalan News Agency with written answers from jail, Sànchez also said that an automatic snap election in Catalonia needs to be avoided. If no candidate is sworn in as president by May 22, citizens will have to cast their ballots again. “A new election will bring nothing new that we cannot do now,” he said. For him, Carles Puigdemont – leader of the main pro-independence force – will not “waste” the December 21, 2017 results, in which parties in favor of a Catalan state kept their majority in the hemicycle.
A new president has not been elected because the proposed candidates, either in jail or abroad, were blocked by the Spanish judiciary. The only way to avoid a new election seems to be voting for an MP not involved in the independence judicial case. This might be Junts per Catalunya’s Elsa Artadi. “She is a highly capable woman, and I predict a long political career for her, either if she is or she is not the candidate. She knows she has all my support,” said Sànchez about her.
Concerning the possibility that more leaders are jailed, he said that the pro-independence movement “has to assume it as a risk, but not as unavoidable.” “In any case, we cannot give up exercising the rights to demonstrate, express and associate,” he added, while asking the public not to “be beaten by fear.”