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In Spain, confinement in a pandemic is declared unconstitutional: what does it mean?

The Constitutional Court of Spain declared that the home confinement decreed by the government of Pedro Sánchez in March of last year under the state of alarm due to the pandemic and for which they kept locked up in their homes during three months to the 47 million Spaniards it was unconstitutional.

He did so after accommodating the appeal presented by the far-right party Vox, which, paradoxically, I had voted in favor of the state of alarm in Congress when President Sánchez went to Parliament to obtain his approval.

“What is the point of ruling on the first of the states of alarm that was from March to June of last year? It is an extemporaneous decision”, Thinks for Clarion Juanjo Alvarez, Professor of Private International Law at the University of the Basque Country and co-founder of the Institute for Democratic Governance.

According to the professor, “the declaration as unconstitutional of a decree of a government measure it happens more than once. It has an important social and political significance, for what it supposed in a pandemic, but politically it is not a reproach to the government but rather it’s an appraisal, in my opinion, wrong ”.

Millions of euros in fines, forgiven

“Legally, to say that the confinement was unconstitutional because the tool, the state of alarm, did not provide coverage, only and exclusively, means that the individuals who were fined for skipping the confinement, provided that that fine has not already been paid , they will not be sanctioned because those fines are annulled. They are a few million euros ”, adds Alvarez.

“The only legal effect on citizenship of this sentence implies the nullity of the sanctions”, Insists the professor.

In Spain, during the first state of alarm, the State security forces and bodies made about 1,150,000 fines, almost all for not complying with the strict quarantine. As of the decision of the Constitutional Court, they would be annulled.

The value of the sanctions was between 600 and 30,000 euros. Until May, 115 million euros had been collected and there are already those who doubt that those who have paid cannot claim that they return the amount paid for a penalty that today the Justice does not consider as such.

“The technical argument is that, in the opinion of the majority of the Constitutional Court, there was not a mere restriction of certain rights but a suspension of freedom of movement for which it would have to have gone to the state of exception and not to the one of alarm “, explains Alvarez.

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Fountain: Johns Hopkins
Chart: Flourish | Infographic: Clarion

“But a state of exception is the one that should be applied in the event of an uprising, of an alteration of the public order that is not possible to channel by the ordinary means and that would imply a potential suspension of the democratic rights, “he adds.

For the president of Vox, Santiago Abascal, “it has been verified that the government of Spain has carried out the greatest violation of fundamental rights of the Spanish throughout our history ”.

And, not satisfied with the measure, he stated: “This sentence he’s late, badly and reluctantly”.

Abascal asks: “The resignation of the government, the calling of general elections and that the Spanish who have been harmed be compensated.”

But in the decision of the Constitutional Court it is clarified that the sentencea does not open the possibility to claims patrimonial against the Spanish State.

Madrid. Correspondent

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