Photo: Archive photo of members of the Catalan government heading for the Supreme Court (Credit: ACN)
By: El Món, ACN
Date: 22 November, 2018
More than 120 professors and law professors have signed a manifesto in which they reject the charges of rebellion and sedition against Catalan politicians. The text, titled “The Trivialisation of the Crimes of Rebellion and Sedition” was published last Thursday in diario.es. In the manifesto, the professors and academics warn that the interpretation of these crimes by the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the State lawyers, against pro-independence leaders “opens the door to the trivialisation” of these two crimes which are “practically unheard of, even in a democracy and with a poor record”. The academics also expressed regret that the Prosecutor’s Office has “turned the exercise of fundamental rights into a crime” – such as the rights to demonstrate, assemble, and vote on self-determination.
The text has been promoted by the chairs of criminal law of the universities of Jaén, Castilla-La Mancha and Granada; Guillermo Portilla, Nicolás García Rivas and María Luis Maqueda; and by the professors of criminal law of the universities of La Coruña and Valencia; José Ángel Brandariz and Javier Mira Benavent. Also signing the manifesto are professors of criminal law of several universities, such as; Manuel Cancio (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Jacobo Dopico (Carlos III University), Luigi Foffani (Modena University), Patricia Laurenzo (University of Málaga) and Joan Queralt (Barcelona University).
The academics see the demand for sentences up to 25 years in length in the case of the Public Prosecutor and 12 in the case of the State lawyers as the result of an inappropriate interpretation of the crimes of rebellion and sedition. They point out that this is “highly questionable”, especially given that the principle of proportionality must guide legal interpretation.