Deputy PM joins legal chiefs in defense of Garzón conviction

PP's Santamaría concerned about criticism of judge's disbarment Judicial authorities say Supreme Court acted "impartially"

Madrid -

A day after being suspended from the bench for 11 years over a case that affects the ruling Popular Party (PP), the name of Baltasar Garzón continued to be on everyone’s lips, from legal experts to politicians of all colors, the media and even the government.

After the judiciary sharply criticized all those who suggested that the Supreme Court’s conviction was politically motivated and that Garzón is the victim of a right-wing persecution, the PP government came out with similar statements on Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría referred specifically to politicians like Gaspar Llamazares, of the United Left, who has said that he does not respect the court’s decision.

“I would like to tell those political leaders to keep in mind that all judicial decisions are worthy of respect. All Spaniards must respect court verdicts, but even more so public representatives,” she said. “When you question the institutions, you are also questioning democracy – here and beyond our borders. I am appealing to their sense of responsibility. Spain is a democratic country. I am very worried about the image that some are trying to convey about a Spain that is not really Spain.”

Meanwhile, the presidency of the Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary issued a statement saying that the court acted “with absolute independence and impartiality.”

The spokeswoman for the judicial watchdog, Gabriela Bravo, said that the Supreme Court has been placed in a “critical situation” because of the opinions against the Garzón ruling, and expressed her “concern” about the international image of Spanish justice.

Garzón was found guilty of illegal wiretaps of prisoners and their lawyers in connection with the Gürtel case, a sweeping corruption scheme affecting the PP.


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