Catalonia to repair memory of executed ‘witches’

Tortured, hanged, condemned without trial: Catalonia's regional parliament passed a resolution on Wednesday to rehabilitate the memory of hundreds of women executed for "witchcrafts" between the 15th and 18th centuries.

witches catalonia spain
Catalan folklore is full of myths about witchcraft (Bruxería in Catalan). Image: Public Domain/Wikipedia

The move was driven by pro-independence and left-wing groups who believe these women were “victims of misogynistic persecution”. They want their memory to be honoured by naming streets after them.

The centuries-long witch-hunt was particularly intense in this northeastern region of Spain.

An investigation by local scientific journal Sapiens and research by Barcelona historian Pau Castell found that Catalonia was one of the first regions in Europe to carry out witch hunts, starting in 1471.

It is also considered one of the regions where the most executions took place.

“We have recently discovered the names of more than 700 women who were persecuted, tortured and executed between the 15th and 18th centuries,” say the groups behind the resolution which was passed by a large majority of 114 in favour, 14 against and six abstentions.

The lives and tragic deaths of these women will now be reviewed from a gender perspective to raise public awareness about their fate, echoing similar initiatives in Spain’s Navarre region but also in Scotland, Switzerland and Norway.

“Before they called us witches, now they call us ‘feminazis’ or hysterical or sexually frustrated. Before they carried out witch hunts, now we call them femicides,” said regional deputy Jenn Diaz of the ruling ERC.

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Qatar emir visits Spain as EU eyes gas alternatives

Qatar's emir began a state visit to Spain on Tuesday as Europe seeks to diversify its natural gas supply sources to reduce its energy dependence on Russia.

Qatar emir visits Spain as EU eyes gas alternatives

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was welcomed by King Felipe VI at Madrid’s royal palace at the start of his two-day visit, his first to Spain since he ascended the throne in 2013.

The emir, who is accompanied by Qatar’s foreign and energy ministers, is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Wednesday.

Spain and Qatar are expected to sign a dozen economic and commercial contracts during his visit, mainly regarding energy, according to a Spanish government source.

The visit comes as the European Union is aiming to cut its reliance on Russian gas by two-thirds this year due to Russia’s invasion of  Ukraine.

Russia currently supplies around 40 percent of Europe’s gas needs.

Qatar, which has the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world, is currently Spain’s fifth-biggest supplier of natural gas after the United States, Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt.

The country accounted for 4.4 percent of Spain’s total gas imports in April and the Spanish government hopes this share could increase.

“We are working closely with out European counterparts” on the long-term supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Qatar’s ambassador to Spain, Abdullah Al-Hamar, told Spanish daily 20 Minutos.

The emir of Qatar’s trip to Europe will also include visits to Germany, Britain, Slovenia and Switzerland, where he will attend the World Economic Forum which will run in the mountain resort of Davos from May 22nd-26th.