Spanish Prosecutors Accuse Former Catalan Leader of Leading Terrorist Group

Catalan Leader

This article was last updated on February 21, 2024

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The case against former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont

The Spanish Supreme Court’s attorneys general are holding firm to their belief that the former Regional President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, was the figurehead of a terrorist group known as Tsunami Democràtic. This follows the conviction of several leaders of the Catalan independence movement for their part in the 2017 referendum that saw Catalonia claiming independence from Spain.

This event sparked significant civil unrest, with accusations pointing towards Puigdemont as the instigator, garnering support from Tsunami Democràtic – an activist group dedicated to Catalonia’s independence. Violent riots ensued, resulting in nearly 200 injuries and more than 80 arrests. Prosecutors accuse Puigdemont of being the chief instigator of these actions.

In their perspective, Puigdemont was more than just a participant, he was Tsunami Democràtic’s “absolute leader”. These allegations are awaiting the confirmation or rejection of the Supreme Court judges, who will determine whether Puigdemont and other suspects will face charges. Despite residing in Belgium for several years, Puigdemont continues to play a role in regional politics as a member of the European Parliament.

The Amnesty Act and ongoing negotiations

Negotiations have been ongoing between the Spanish government and Puigdemont’s political party, Junts per Catalunya, regarding an amnesty for the Catalan separatist movement leaders. This amnesty is also expected to cover terrorist crimes but will exclude acts intended to incite “serious violations of human rights”.

Should the judges rule in favor of the accusation that Puigdemont engaged in such acts, he would not be covered by the amnesty currently under discussion. This means that if he returns to Spain, he may still face trial.

Reflections from a Spain correspondent

Miral de Bruijne, a Spain correspondent, shed some more light on the ongoing proceedings. “The amnesty law was the subject of a parliamentary vote last month. Amidst months of negotiation on the proposal, Junts, Puigdemont’s party, surprisingly voted against it.

The party believed the law was filled with too many exceptions, thus rendering it ineffective as not enough individuals would be granted amnesty. For instance, under the proposed law, Puigdemont himself would have been unable to return freely to Spain. This unexpected turn of events necessitated more discussions.

This obvious setback for Prime Minister Sánchez is critical given that his minority cabinet desperately needs the support of the Catalans for governance. The results of these investigations will certainly further strain the fragile alliance,” concludes de Bruijne.

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