ICYMI: Nine Catalan Leaders Jailed Up To 13 Years For Independence Bid

Spain’s Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine Catalan leaders to prison terms of between nine and 13 years for sedition for their role in a failed 2017 independence bid. 

The long-awaited verdicts were less than those demanded by the prosecution which had sought up to 25 years behind bars for former Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras on grounds of rebellion.

Spain has been bracing for weeks for the court’s ruling, with tension mounting steadily and police sending reinforcements to Catalonia where separatists have pledged a mass response of civil disobedience.

Former Catalan regional Carles Puigdemont called the sentences an “outrage.”

“100 years in all. An outrage. Now more than ever, by your side and those of your families. It is time to react as never before,” tweeted Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium to avoid prosecution.

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The 12 defendants, most of them members of the former Catalan government, were put on trial in February for their role in the banned October 1, 2017  referendum and the short-lived independence declaration that followed it.

“The Supreme Court condemns Oriel Junqueras to 13 years of prison… on grounds of sedition and the misuse of public funds,” the ruling said, handing 12 years to three other former regional ministers.

Former parliamentary speaker Carme Forcadell was handed 11 years and six months in jail, while two influential Catalan civic leaders, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, were sentenced to nine years prison.

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Only three of the 12 leaders, who faced lesser charges, escaped jail time and were handed a fine.

Junqueras served as the main defendant after his boss, Puigdemont, fled to Belgium.

The government is hoping the long-awaited ruling will allow it to turn the page on the crisis in the wealthy northeastern region where support for independence has been gaining momentum over the past decade.

But the separatist movement is hoping for just the opposite: that the anticipated guilty verdicts will unite their divided ranks and bring supporters onto the streets.

Source: AFP

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