Welsh MEP condemns 'deeply distressing' prison sentences for Catalan independence leaders

Clay Curtis
October 14, 2019

Espanyol have responded to Spain's supreme court ruling, in which nine Catalan political leaders were sentenced to prison, with sentences varying between nine and 13 years.

The court sentenced Junqueras to 13 years of prison on grounds of sedition and the misuse of public funds.

The 12 defendants, a lot 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. Riot police cordoned off dozens of protesters, some of whom were hooded and wearing masks, at one airport access hall.

Both the government and separatists circulated their own video on social media ahead of the verdict.

Meanwhile, club-mate Sergi Roberto, also a Catalan graduate of La Masía, stated his backing for the jailed leaders, tweeting: "All my support and solidarity".

"In the same way that the preventative prison sentence didn't help to resolve the conflict, neither will the prison sentence given today, because prison is not the solution", the club said in a statement shortly after Spain's Supreme Court issued its long-awaited verdicts.

"One hundred years in prison in total".

In the dock were 12 former Catalan politicians who were being tried for their actions in the 2017 attempt to break away from Spain after an independence referendum that was ruled illegal.

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Catalonia will be independent if we persist.

"It is time to rise up against the authoritarian fascism of the Spanish state and its accomplices".

Two influential Catalan civic leaders, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, were sentenced to nine years in prison, while the remaining three leaders escaped jail time and were each handed a fine of around €60,000 ($70,000).

The ruling is likely to colour a national election on Nov 10, Spain's fourth in four years, and influence the direction taken by the separatist movement. He stopped short of repeating calls for civil disobedience.

An opinion poll in July showed 48.3% of Catalans against secession and 44% in favor.

Judge Pablo Llarena withdrew an arrest warrant against the former Catalan premier, who is now living in Belgium, after the German authorities refused to hand him over to Spain to face rebellion charges based on his involvement in the October 2017 referendum on secession from Spain and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

Puigdemont was the head of the Spanish region at the time of the independence bid but was not part of this trial because he fled to Belgium, where he now lives in self-imposed exile.

Reacting to the news on Twitter, Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the result was a "dreadful outcome."

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