Amnesty bill to cover 372 people involved in Catalan independence bid, Socialists say

Pro-independence organization Òmnium initially said 1,432 people would benefit from the law

Spain's presidency minister Félix Bolaños
Spain's presidency minister Félix Bolaños / Miquel Vera
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 8, 2024 01:32 PM

The amnesty bill for people involved in the independence movement is one step closer to being approved after it passed a crucial vote in the Spanish Congress' Justice Committee yesterday.

Spain's presidency minister, Félix Bolaños, announced today that once approved, the law will "directly" apply to 372 people accused of crimes related to the Catalan independence bid.  

In an interview with Catalan broadcaster TV3, Bolaños said the law was "fully constitutional and in line with European law" and that its main beneficiary would be Catalan society. 

"We want everyone who participated in the independence movement to be covered by the bill," he added. 

The Socialists initially estimated the number at around 300, but with the revised version of the bill, the figure has risen slightly to 372. 

This estimate differs significantly from previous ones, such as those made by the pro-independence civil society organization Òmnium, which initially projected 1,432 beneficiaries based on the first draft. 

Junts, which did not provide a specific estimate, claims that the revised version will extend its benefits to an additional 150 to 200 people compared to the original proposal. 

Originally, the amnesty proposal covered individuals prosecuted from January 2012 to November 2023, but the revised version extends this period back to November 2011.  

In addition, the new text adapts terrorism crimes to European standards rather than Spanish law, giving former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and others accused of terrorism greater protection. 

In a post on X, Puigdemont celebrated the approval of the bill in the Justice Committee, calling it "a very important step to put an end to the repression." 

The bill will now be voted on in Congress next Thursday, March 14, where it is almost certain to pass. It will then be debated in the Senate before returning to Congress for final approval.