When will the prisoners of the trial be released from prison? Stages and deadlines after the approval of pardons in the Council of Ministers


Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2021 2:43 PM

Published: 06/22/2021 2:31 PM

The former vice-president of the Generalitat Oriol Junqueras; former Speaker of Parliament, Carme Forcadell; former advisers Jordi Turull, Joaquim Forn, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull and Dolors Bassa; and the presidents of the Òmnium and ANC associations, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez. All, sentenced in 2019 for offenses of sedition and embezzlement, will be released in the coming hours – before the week ends safely – given the deadlines set for the granting of pardons. Although, according to sources from the Supreme Court who motivated LaSexta, if the pardon “covers the remaining sentence, it will only be a matter of minutes. The release will be immediate.” In other words, it could happen today.

However, it is quite possible that the inmates known to the trial are not in prison when they receive the notification of their release, because they have applied for prison permits which, according to this media outlet, they could take advantage of from this Wednesday and extend until Saturday, thus coinciding with the festivities of Sant Joan, very popular in Catalonia. So maybe when the pardons are performed – between today and tomorrow – the prisoners will already be on the streets. It will depend on how the bureaucratic procedures are carried out, that is to say the stages and the time limits for the release of convicted persons.

This Monday, Pedro Sánchez has already announced that he would apply the pardon measure to those said to be prisoners of the trial, sentenced to terms of between nine and 13 years. A day later, the government approved these pardons in the Council of Ministers, which is the first of the measures necessary to make them effective. Before going deeper into the process, it should be noted that a pardon request cannot be made en bloc, but that each case is studied and justified individually. Knowing this, the Council of Ministers studied on Tuesday nine proposals on which it pronounced on the granting of pardons.

What happens next? Once the decision is taken, it must be registered in the Official State Gazette (BOE) within hours. This means that, barring an exceptional interruption, the newspaper should appear published this Wednesday or even today nine royal decrees – one for each request for pardon for each convict – with the signature of the Head of State, in this case the King. Felipe VI, and the Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo. Already with their respective sections, they will probably be transferred the same day to the Supreme Court – the body which condemned the independence politicians in October 2019 -.

It would be an offense of unlawful detention if the release of a person whose liberty has been granted is delayed “

At this point, the High Court must immediately issue reports agreeing to the end of sentences and the resulting release. Concretely, the second chamber must proceed to the liquidation of said convictions and issue orders by which criminal liability is declared extinguished. In this way, the release of the nine prisoners will be ordered. This action will then be officially communicated to the prisons in which the detainees are located when they are not on prison leave – to Lledoners, for men, and to Wad Ras and Puig de les Basses, for women -.

At this point, the pardons from which independentist politicians are free will become effective. This procedure can take place in a matter of hours, so everything indicates that today or tomorrow, as stated above, this matter will be settled. In statements to LaSexta, the magistrate of the Supreme Court José Antonio Martín-Pallín stressed the importance of executing the order quickly: “With regard to the custodial sentence, it must be carried out as quickly as possible. . There would be a crime of illegal detention. if the release of a person whose liberty has been granted is delayed.

Certain appeals may be brought against this procedure, but this will in no case result in the suspension of the pardon measures. “The granting of pardon is by its nature irrevocable in accordance with the clauses with which it was granted”, is written in article 18 of the law of June 18, 1870 on the rules for the exercise of pardon – name decree officer-. This is what the law says, and experts like Martín Pallín insist on this point: “The law clearly says that they are irrevocable. However, the rule itself contains a nuance of the utmost importance, since it conditions its future functioning.

The conditionality of forgiveness

The publication of pardons to the BOE may include a series of conditions for their application. Although the standard cannot be revoked, it may decline in some way if certain circumstances are met. “The pardon is irrevocable, unless it is subject to conditions,” explains to LaSexta Fernando Álvarez Ossorio, professor of constitutional law at the University of Seville. What condition? For example, if the legality is violated again. This is precisely one of the nuances that the inmates of the trial must fulfill in order for the pardon to remain in force: the recovery of their freedom is subject to no longer committing a serious offense, so that the judicial pardon can remain ineffective. in the face of a repeat of criminal behavior.

There are precedents for this variable, the most common formula used in these cases being: the sentence is commuted “provided that the intentional crime is not repeated within the time limit. [X] years from the publication of the royal decree. “In this case, the Ministry of Justice has established a safety period of three to six years, during which they can no longer commit the crime because they would return to prison. It should be noted that, in the event that the pardoned violate the law again, they would not serve the previous sentence, but a new sentence for the crime committed. “The sentences are pardoned, not the crimes”, Martín Pallín considers it necessary to underline. added about them: “They remain on the backsheet and tomorrow could be used as an aggravating factor for recidivism.”

If I am pardoned by this government, that of Pablo Casado will not be able to come and withdraw the pardon. “

“If someone commits a crime again, the Penal Code will act again,” said lvarez-Ossorio, who also wanted to underline the very essence of this rule: “If this government forgives me, that of Pablo Casado cannot come and withdraw forgiveness “. This first conditioner is applied in the graces addressed to Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Cuixart, Raúl Romeva or Jordi Turull, but it is not the only one. Another of the great doubts directly concerns the type of pardon granted and the consequences of its execution.

As explained by the professor of constitutional law at LaSexta, these pardons “are partial because part of the sentence has already been served, because of the report issued by the Supreme Court against him and because the accessory sentences are maintained” . That the accessory penalties are maintained means that, in this case, once the pardons have been approved, the convicts will be able to leave prison, but their ban on exercising public functions will remain in force. As the President of the Government himself announced, the nine condemned by the independence process will maintain their disqualification from political life despite the pardon.

Álvarez-Ossorio cites article 6 of the law to clarify what is related to this matter: “The pardon of the main penalty will entail that of the accessory penalties that would have been inflicted on the convicted with it, with the exception of forfeiture of the sentence. civil service political rights and subject to the control of the Authority, which will not be considered as included if no special mention had been made in the concession. In any case, these conditions “cannot violate or suppress the rights to freedom of expression, assembly or demonstration because they would be unconstitutional”, qualified the magistrate emeritus Martín-Pallín.

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