30th October 2020
Catalan leaders on trial
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Spanish government to consider pardons for jailed Catalan leaders

The Spanish government has announced that it will commence the process to consider a request to pardon the nine jailed Catalan pro-independence leaders from next week.

The nine Catalan politicians and activists were jailed for between 9-13 years by Spain’s Supreme Court on 14 October 2019. They were convicted for crimes of sedition and misuse of funds for their roles in the 1 October 2017 independence referendum.

They had been found guilty following the high-profile Catalan Trial in the Supreme Court – with the verdicts causing widespread protests across Catalonia.

ALSO READ: Catalan Trial verdict: full details of each sentence

The announcement was made during a plenary session in the Spanish Congress on Wednesday by Spain’s Justice Minister, Juan Carlos Campo, who said that the cabinet would begin to ‘accept for consideration’ the pardon requests in the coming days.

Juan Carlos Campo
The Justice Minister Juan Carlos Campo in the Spanish Congress on 23 September 2020. (Congreso.es)

At the same time, Campo also said that a reform of the criminal code, to include the possibility of lowering the crime of sedition, would also begin soon.

ALSO READ (19/11/19): Amnesty International again call for two ‘Jordis’ immediate release

In January the Spanish government had said that the aim of the proposed reform of the criminal code would be to ‘clarify’ and adapt certain offences to the ‘reality’ of the ‘current age’.

ALSO READ (25/1/20): Spanish government will seek to reform definition of ‘sedition’ in criminal code

Several individuals have requested a pardon for the jailed leaders during the past year, including lawyer Francesc Jufresa. According to reports, once the requests are accepted for consideration, the Spanish government will have to listen to all sides in the Catalan Trial, including the public prosecutor and the Supreme Court through a report.

ALSO READ (1/8/20): Seven of nine jailed Catalan leaders have ‘low category’ prison sentence revoked

The right-wing People’s Party (PP), centre-right Ciudadanos (Cs) and far-right Vox party are all strongly opposed to any change to the criminal code related to sedition.

The PSOE-Podemos coalition government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez could make a decision in between four and six months, according to the same reports.

A pardon for the crimes of sedition and misuse of funds could be decided exclusively by Sánchez’s cabinet.

ALSO READ (4/7/19): UN working group calls for release of four more jailed Catalan politicians

Catalan leaders in jail
From top left to right: Raul Romeva, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Turull, Oriol Junqueras, Josep Rull. Bottom left to right: Jordi Cuixart, Carme Forcadell, Dolors Bassa and Jordi Sanchez. (Photos by AFP)

The nine jailed politicians and activists:

Oriol Junqueras – former Catalan vice president, finance minister and leader of the Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party.

Junqueras spent 711 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition and misuse of public funds. Prison sentence: 13 years. Disqualification: 13 years.

ALSO READ: Junqueras: ‘I consider myself a political prisoner’

Jordi Turull – former Catalan presidency minister.

Turull spent 602 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition and misuse of public funds. Prison sentence: 12 years. Disqualification: 12 years

Joaquim Forn – former Catalan interior minister.

Forn spent 711 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition. Prison sentence: 10.5 years. Disqualification: 10.5 years.

Raül Romeva – former Catalan foreign action minister.

Romeva spent 602 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition and misuse of public funds. Prison sentence: 12 years. Disqualification: 12 years.

Dolors Bassa – former Catalan labour and social affairs minister.

Bassa spent 602 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition and misuse of public funds. Prison sentence: 12 years. Disqualification: 12 years.

Josep Rull – former Catalan territory minister.

Rull spent 602 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition. Prison sentence: 10.5 years. Disqualification: 10.5 years.

Carme Forcadell – former Catalan Parliament speaker.

Forcadell spent 571 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition. Prison sentence: 11.5 years. Disqualification: 11.5 years.

Jordi Sànchez – former Catalan National Assembly (ANC) grassroots leader.

Sànchez spent 728 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition. Prison sentence: 9 years. Disqualification: 9 years.

Jordi Cuixart – Òmnium Cultural grassroots leader.

Cuixart spent 728 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition. Prison sentence: 9 years. Disqualification: 9 years

ALSO READ (27/2/20): Talks commence between Spanish and Catalan governments

ALSO READ (7/2/20): Pedro Sánchez and Quim Torra face ‘long talks process’

Click here for all articles and updates on the Catalan Trial, verdicts and sentencing

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