The state prosecutor yesterday called for prison sentences of up to 25 years for the charge of rebellion for the jailed Catalan officials. However, the solicitor general, representing the Spanish government, asked for a lower sentence of 16 years for the lesser offence of sedition. The result was that Catalan president Quim Torra withdrew support for Spanish president Pedro Sánchez’s 2019 budget.
While expected, the news had no less impact on the Catalan government, and pro-independence organisations, and even the Comuns party, which does not support secession. All called for the public to mobilise to reject the “injustice” and “reprisal”.
Along with the Catalan parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, the head of the government expressed his “immense indignation” and called Sánchez an “accomplice of the repression” and of having lost a “golden opportunity” to resolve the Catalan conflict. Torrent talked of “revenge” on behalf of the state.
While the Spanish government expressed “scrupulous respect” for the prosecutors, the Ciutadans (Cs) opposition party accused Sánchez of “doing whatever it takes to stay in La Moncloa”. The leader of Cs in Catalonia, Inés Arrimadas, insinuated that the lesser sentence demanded by the solicitor general suggested an agreement with the pro-independence parties to pass the budget. The Catalan socialists were more cautious, appealing to the presumption of innocence.
The prosecutor asked for 25 years in prison for former vice president Oriol Junqueras, and 17 years for former parliament speaker Carme Forcadell, and civic leaders, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart. For five other former ministers in pre-trial jail, the prosecutor demanded 16 years, while 11 years was demanded for former Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero. The solicitor general reduced the accusations from armed rebellion without violence to sedition and called for lesser sentences.