Factbox-Nine jailed Catalan separatist leaders to be pardoned by Spain


BARCELONA (Reuters) – Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday announced his intention to pardon nine jailed Catalan separatists who were convicted of sedition in 2019 by the Supreme Court for their role in the region’s failed independence bid in 2017.

The court convicted all the members of Catalonia’s former government who had not fled Spain, as well as two political activists and the speaker of the regional parliament.


Junqueras, 52, is the most prominent of the jailed leaders and received the longest sentence – 13 years over sedition and misuse of public funds. He was banned from holding public office for the duration of his sentence.

He was deputy head of Catalonia’s government during the 2017 unauthorised referendum and subsequent short-lived declaration of independence and, unlike former regional chief Carles Puigdemont who fled Spain shortly afterwards, decided to stay and face the consequences.

Junqueras, who has been in jail for three and a half years, is the chairman of the leftist Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya party (ERC). He was elected to the national and European parliaments while behind bars and recently acknowledged that his camp committed mistakes during the 2017 events.


Romeva, 50, was sentenced to 12 years over sedition and misuse of public funds for his role as Catalonia’s foreign affairs chief during the referendum. Like Junqueras, he is a member of ERC and a former European lawmaker.


Turull, 54, was the regional government’s spokesman and in charge of the presidency department during the 2017 crisis. He was sentenced to 12 years over sedition and misuse of public funds. Close to Puigdemont, he is from the centre-right Junts party and tried to be elected regional chief while in jail.


Bassa, 62, was sentenced to 12 years over sedition and misuse of public funds. She is an ERC member and was Catalonia’s labour and social affairs top official in 2017.


Forcadell, 66, is the oldest among the jailed leaders and was sentenced to 11 years and six months over sedition. She was speaker of the Catalan parliament during the 2017 events and previously she chaired grassroots separatist organization ANC.


Forn, 57, was sentenced to 10 years and six months over sedition for his role as interior chief – in charge of the regional police – during the referendum. He is a member of Junts and initially fled to Belgium with some of his government colleagues but came back shortly afterwards.


Rull, 52, was sentenced to 10 years and six months over sedition for his role as Catalonia’s top official in charge of infrastructure and environmental issues. A member of Junts, he has been one of the most outspoken critics of what he said was a political trial and ruling against him.


Sanchez, 56, was chairman of separatist organization ANC in 2017 events when he organised rallies in support of the referendum. He was sentenced to nine years over sedition and, with fellow activist Jordi Cuixart, he has been jailed the longest. He is currently Junts’ secretary general.


The 46-year-old civil disobedience advocate was chairman of the Catalan cultural organization Omnium in 2017 when he campaigned for the referendum and was detained two weeks after the vote. He was sentenced to the same prison term as Sanchez and their conviction was criticised by Amnesty International.


The three former members of the Catalan government were sentenced to one year and eight months in jail for disobedience but avoided serving time in prison after demonstrating remorse, distancing themselves from the 2017 events or promising to stay out of politics.

(Reporting by Joan Faus; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Alex Richardson)

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