Court drops charges for Spanish police accused of attacking voters during illegal Catalan referendum

Court drops charges for Spanish police accused of attacking voters during illegal Catalan referendum

Decision came after Supreme Court ruled amnesty law would not be applied to several high-ranking separatist politicians

By Alyssa McMurtry

OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - A Barcelona court on Tuesday announced it would drop charges against 46 Spanish police officers accused of using excess force on voters during the illegal Catalan independence referendum in 2017.

The judge invoked Spain’s controversial amnesty law to forgive the officers.

According to the Catalan Health Services, more than 1,000 civilians were injured while voting in the illegal referendum — largely due to violent police charges with batons.

The Barcelona court said while the police officers will no longer face criminal charges, the victims could still take civil action against them.

This week is showing how the controversial amnesty measure, negotiated between Spain’s progressive government and Catalan separatists as a way to forgive those involved in the Catalan independence movement, is not playing out how politicians imagined.

On Monday, the Supreme Court delivered a massive blow to the bill, ruling that former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and other high-ranking politicians would not have embezzlement charges against them dropped.

Therefore, the international arrest warrant against Puigdemont, in self-imposed exiled since 2017, is still active.

At the same time, other top politicians are still barred from holding office or returning to Spain without facing criminal charges.

The decision to not forgive embezzlement is expected to be appealed in Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Besides the 46 Spanish police, the amnesty law, which took effect on June 11, has so far been applied to benefit 16 Catalan separatists, according to local daily La Vanguardia.

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