Wednesday, June 29

Pardons to Catalan political prisoners: How and when will they be released?

1. Extinction of criminal responsibility

While an inmate is serving a sentence, an execution is kept open to register this process and in which it must state when it is completely liquidated. In the event that a pardon is granted, the sentencing court, in this case the Supreme Court, must check if with the measure of grace granted the criminal responsibility has been extinguished totally or partially. For the release to take place, it is not even necessary that this extinction be complete, because it can be completed with a period of conditional freedom, whose guarantee is precisely that of not committing a crime again.

2. The Supreme cannot refuse

The pardon is a prerogative of the Government, so once granted by the Council of Ministers, the court that imposed the sentence can only agree on the necessary measures to proceed with its fulfillment as soon as possible. It is considered that one of the most precious assets of a person is his freedom, hence try to be deprived of it as little as possible when the release is decreed. It is therefore probable that 1-O leaders get out of prison this week.

The only drawback that a court can put before a pardon is the one allowed by the law. This is what happened with some mossos convicted of torture to whom the PP Government commuted the sentence to two years in prison. As, even so, the Provincial Court of Barcelona decided that they should go to jail, since it was the court’s authority to serve sentences of up to that length, they were pardoned a second time, this time a fine.

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3. Liquidation and release

The Second Chamber of the Supreme Court has no intention of objecting to the decision adopted by the Executive, according to what legal sources inform this newspaper. Therefore, once the scope of the pardon has been verified, the Criminal Chamber will proceed to dictate the corresponding orders for the liquidation of the sentence, one for each of the condemned to whom the measure of grace has been granted. In that same resolution or in an independent one will be included the release order to be addressed to prisons where they are interned so that they can proceed to release them.

4. Possibility of appeal

Pardons can be appealed to the Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court, which is responsible for controlling government decisions. The measures of grace that you have annulled can be counted on the fingers of your hand. The most notorious was that of a kamikaze driver who the Government of Mariano Rajoy pardoned the sentence. That ruling allowed the Third Chamber to set a new doctrine for prevent arbitrariness by the Executive in the use of the pardon. This doctrine obliges the executive branch to justify the granting of pardons when the two mandatory reports, that of the court and that of the prosecution, as in this case, are contrary to the measure.

5. Who can challenge

In the case of the kamikaze driver, the parents of the boy who was hit by the driver going in the opposite direction appealed. But in the pardons of the procés it is not so clear who can challenge its concession, although the PP insists that it will. The magistrates of the high court consulted by this newspaper disagree when saying the PP It has standing to challenge it, despite the fact that, in principle, the parties do not have it to review the government’s political action. They agree that it will be easier for Vox to have already exercised the popular accusation in the trial. Who would have legitimacy would be a Catalan collective that could be presented as victim of the crime of sedition in competition with embezzlement for which nine of the 12 defendants were convicted.

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In any case, all of them will wait for the decision on the challenge at their homes. Even the annulment of the kamikaze’s pardon did not lead to his re-entry into prison, but rather, in a first resolution, the Supreme Court gave the Government three months to justify its decision. In the worst case scenario for the pardoned, the high court would act in a similar way.

6. What happens if they commit a new crime

All pardons are accompanied by a tagline by which the sentence imposed by the court is commuted to another that allows them to leave prison “on condition that he does not commit a fraudulent offense again within the term” of the number of years to be determined “since the publication of the royal decree” corresponding in the BOE.

This implies that if you commit any crime within that period, the same or another, the pardon will be revoked and you can go back to prison. In other words, the measure of grace can also be suspended without committing a new sedition or one embezzlementbut, for example, for driving while intoxicated.

The procedure is similar to that followed with those sentenced to sentences of up to two years in prison, whose entry into prison, in the hands of the court, is normally suspended and is activated if they commit another crime. At that time, at second sentence is added the one that did not comply.

7. New judicial process

Legal sources indicate that if they commit a crime again, a new court proceedings whose prosecution corresponds to the new crime committed. Depending on its severity, you can determine for yourself the admission to provisional prison of its author. In case of conviction, the penalty imposed for the new crime will be added to the penalty that was pardoned.

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