Vicenç Villatoro’s Diary

June 1: Splitting up families

The more one uses the word ‘law’, the more outrageous it becomes when one breaks it

Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, continues to use the word 'law' when referring to Catalonia: enforcing the law, the rule of law, equality before the law... The more one uses the word ‘law’, the more outrageous it becomes when one breaks it. Equality before the law? The majority of those found guilty in the Gürtel case, facing stiff sentences, may well avoid prison for the time being, in some cases by paying bail, on humanitarian grounds: they have either elderly parents or relatively young children –a thirty year-old in one instance!– and it’s never a good idea to split up families ...

This generous humanitarian treatment hasn’t been extended to Catalan political prisoners, often with much tougher family circumstances, far from their homes and having not even stood trial. When it comes to accounting for this sudden generosity, representatives of the media who could hardly be called ‘anti-system’, have speculated, without appearing overly preoccupied, that it might be due to the fact that Bárcenas has threatened to rat on the PP if his wife ends up in jail, or due to shady changes to the judges involved in the trial. Equality before the law? During the Franco era, there was a joke (which also had a rather cruder version) about how the justice system worked: “protect the loyal, punish the disloyal... and leave the law for the indifferent”.

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