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Understanding Amnesty in Spain

First of all, it's important to clarify that amnesty is not a pardon, although the concepts may appear similar. Both are exemptions from penalties resulting from unlawful acts, but a pardon forgives a sentence though committing a new offense would label the pardoned as a repeat offender since the original crime isn't erased. This means that a pardon is only applicable after individuals have been tried, convicted, and have received the societal and penal reproach corresponding to their conduct.

Amnesty, on the other hand, forgives the offense in criminal terms, even before a conviction, implying that those responsible for the amnestied crimes might not even face trial. In a way, it signifies the 'judicial forgetting' of committed crimes.

Amnesty shares the same Greek root as 'amnesia,' meaning forgetfulness, and it is very exceptionally executed for extraordinary political reasons.

While not expressly prohibited in the Spanish Constitution, some specialists see it as potentially viable within the current legal framework. However, the majority of jurists argue that amnesty goes beyond a general pardon since a general pardon is prohibited by Article 62 of the Constitution, they assert that amnesty would also be excluded.

This proposed amnesty would absolve the leader of the political party Junts and others involved in the attempted separatist act on October 1st, 2017, in Catalonia, this event led to the imprisonment of several Catalan politicians and the voluntary exile of another group of leaders from Junts, ERC, and the CUP.

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