Spanish government defends 'professional, technical' criteria of solicitor general over jail demands

Right-wing opposition accuses Socialist government of putting at risk the "dignity" of Spain by asking for lower charges than the general prosecution

The Spanish Justice minister Dolores Delgado in June 2018 (by Tània Tàpia)
The Spanish Justice minister Dolores Delgado in June 2018 (by Tània Tàpia) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

November 2, 2018 02:36 PM

The Spanish government has defended as "professional, technical and juridical" the decision of its solicitor general of asking between 7 and 12 years in jail for pro-independence leaders involved in last year referendum.

The solicitor general has requested lower prison charges than Spain's general prosecution for pro-independence leaders, and is accusing them of sedition, instead of rebellion.

Meanwhile, the general prosecution is accusing the former government members, civil society leaders and the former speaker of rebellion and demanding prison sentences of up to 25 years.

The leader of the opposition in Spain, People's Party Pablo Casado, accused the Spanish government of putting at risk the country's "dignity" by not asking for rebellion charges. "It's not acceptable for Pedro Sánchez to crush the criminal code, the separation of powers and the dignity of the Spanish democracy," he said. According to him, the solicitor general is making a "gesture" towards pro-independence leaders, whose party's votes are essential for the Socialist executive to stay in power.

The minister of Justice, Dolores Delgado, however, denied any "gestures" were made for the pro-independence parties.

The other opposition party in Spain, Cs, also accused the Spanish government of giving oxygen to the pro-independence leaders for not pressing rebellion charges. According to the party leader in Catalonia, Inés Arrimadas, the Spanish president is willing to offer pro-independence leaders in prison "privileges".

"It cannot be allowed for those that carried out a coup against democracy to now benefit from an attempt by the Spanish government to lower their charges through the solicitor general," she said. "He needs them to stay in the Spanish government," Arrimadas added.

Despite the Spanish right-wing parties accusing Madrid of going soft on pro-independence leaders, Catalan groups denied any "gestures" in the solicitor general's prison demands, stating that 7 or 12 years in jail for organizing a referendum are still unacceptable, and the only solution must be absolution.