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Socialist leader’s hints that political ‘hostility’ could affect independence trial draws criticism

Catalan president forcefully rejects Miquel Iceta’s suggestion that government strategy might "harm" fate of prosecuted leaders

 

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03 September 2018 12:03 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The head of the Catalan Socialists (PSC) says the ongoing conflict over the independence issue could end up affecting the outcome of the trial of political leaders for their part in last year’s bid to break away from Spain.

Talking to the Catalan News Agency (ACN), Miquel Iceta called on the pro-independence parties to reflect on their actions and whether they want the trial to take place “in a context of hostility and rupture or the search for solutions.”  

"The atmosphere depends on the politicians,” warned Iceta, although he admitted that “the decisions will be taken by the judge.” Yet he insisted that continuing to follow a strategy of conflict could “color” the outcome of the trial.

The PSC head also urged the people putting up yellow ribbon symbols in support of the jailed and exiled leaders no to “colonize” the public space, nor to "erase” opposing political expressions. Iceta also criticized the unionist Ciutadans party (Cs) for "fueling" the conflict.

Torra: “Intolerable threats”

Iceta’s comments drew an immediate reaction from Catalan president Quim Torra. “These threats are intolerable and do nothing more than confirm that this unfair and indecent trial is a farce,” he said on social media on Saturday.

  • "These threats are intolerable and do nothing more than confirm that this unfair and indecent trial is a farce"

    Quim Torra · Catalan president

The president added to his criticisms in a television interview on Monday morning, saying Iceta’s comments “hurt him” and he accused the Socialist leader of insinuating that if the pro-independence parties behave “badly,” it could lead to tougher sentences.

“Let no one ever again insinuate that what the Catalan government might do could harm the prisoners,” added Torra. Some of the 25 political leaders being prosecuted over the push for independence last autumn are facing potential jail sentences of 30 years.

Judge will make “appropriate” decision, says PP

Meanwhile, the head of the unionist People’s Party (PP) in Catalonia, Xavier García Albiol, also responded to Iceta, defending the independence of the judiciary and insisting that the judges will make the decisions that are “most appropriate.”

In fact, a harsh critic of Pedro Sánchez’s new Spanish government, Albiol said his fear was that the authorities in Madrid might reduce the sentences “to try to please” the pro-independence parties. Sánchez came to power in part thanks to votes of these parties.

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  • The Catalan Socialist leader Miquel Iceta during an interview with the Catalan News Agency (by Bernat Vilaró)

  • The Catalan Socialist leader Miquel Iceta during an interview with the Catalan News Agency (by Bernat Vilaró)

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