Spanish president defends 'impartiality' of judges in wake of leaked email controversy

Pedro Sánchez says he can "guarantee" that magistrates "overseeing case against pro-independence leaders" are unprejudiced 

Pedro Sánchez speaking on September 11 in the Spanish congress (Tània Tàpia)
Pedro Sánchez speaking on September 11 in the Spanish congress (Tània Tàpia) / ACN

ACN | Salzburg

September 20, 2018 05:30 PM

The Spanish president Pedro Sánchez has asserted that he trusts "in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary" after judges' emails were leaked challenging Catalonia's push for separation from Spain.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday in Salzburg, Sánchez said that he can "guarantee" that the judges "overseeing the ongoing case against pro-independence leaders in Catalonia" are independent.

The Spanish government, he highlighted, trusts "the judiciary" of Spain with regard to the case against the Catalan leaders.

Leaked messages

His words were directed at president Quim Torra and those affected by the leaked messages published on Thursday by and el Món.

Although Sánchez said that he still has not seen the messages himself, he will speak about the matter with Torra "when he has time."

This, after some parties in favour of a Catalan state criticized the emails, stating that they demonstrate there is "no separation of powers" in Spain, or that the Spanish judiciary is "politicized". Unionist Ciutadans and the People's Party in Catalonia, however, came to the judges' defence.

"Total lack of impartiality"

Earlier in the day, Quim Torra condemned the "total lack of impartiality" of the Spanish judiciary after the leaked emails were published showing bias against pro-independence leaders.

Torra urged the Spanish president and the general prosecutor to "investigate" the scandal and said that, in this scenario, "all those unfairly imprisoned must be immediately released."

Torra also asked for the case against pro-independence judges to be declared null.

The President announced that he will raise the issue to the European Commissioner for Justice, Verá Jourová.

"The lack of judicial independence is a European problem," he said.