Calling independence referendum should be a crime, says PP leader

Casado threatens new self-rule suspension if president Sánchez relies on pro-independence parties to rule Spain

PP leader Pablo Casado (by Rafa Garrido)
PP leader Pablo Casado (by Rafa Garrido) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

July 26, 2018 05:08 PM

Pablo Casado, the new leader of Spain’s People’s Party (PP), has said that he will push for a criminal code reform to prevent Catalonia from organizing a referendum on independence - even with the support of the Spanish government.

The opposition head and leader of the largest party in the Spanish parliament will propose to lawmakers including two new offences in the criminal code: “improper sedition" and “calling of illegal referendums.”

There are nine pro-independence leaders jailed for last October’s referendum and declaration of independence, while seven politicians—including former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont—left the country to avoid prosecution.

A court in Germany recently rejected extraditing Puigdemont back to Spain for the crime of violent rebellion, the most serious offence hanging over pro-independence leaders’ heads.

Carrying prison sentences of up to 30 years and prosecuting those who “violently and publicly" try to “declare the independence of part of the national territory,” whether the crime of rebellion can apply to independence leaders has been highly disputed.