Spain, Catalonia and the rule of law
Sir, – In the article “Jailing Catalan separatists a historic error” (Opinion & Analysis, October 14th), by Alfred Bosch, there are some inaccuracies and misleading information that I would like to clarify.
Contrary to what Mr Bosch states, none of the Catalan independence leaders has been subject to trial for his or her ideas but for his or her criminal conduct as defined by the law. The supreme court has sentenced some of them for participating in deeds against the rule of law, such as enacting laws repealing the Spanish constitution in Catalonia, depriving Catalans of their own rights, as well as disobeying rulings from the constitutional court. Notably, the one declaring the Referendum Act illegal because it broke the supremacy of our constitution, our national sovereignty and the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation.
No government in the world recognised the outcome of the referendum nor the referendum itself. The Spanish constitution enshrines the preservation of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is not some extravagance of our constitutional system, but something many European constitutions do.
Democracy is based on the rule of law; there is no democracy outside the law. The ruling made public yesterday puts an end to a judicial procedure that has been an example of transparency, accuracy and openness, assuring at all times the rights of the defendants. No one can be above the law.
It must be emphasised, especially on this day, that political forces defending the independence of Spanish territories can express democratically and freely their political ideas not only in the regional and the national parliaments but also in the European Parliament, with no other limits than the law. The decision of the supreme court confirms the defeat of a unilateral and illegal movement that failed to gain internal support and international recognition.
Only dialogue within the legal framework, particularly through our constitution and the Catalan law, can show the way forward. – Yours, etc,
Ambassador of Spain,