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Spain PM to consider pardons for jailed Catalan leaders amid legal objections

Madrid / The Spanish Supreme Court objected Wednesday to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez considering pardons for the 12 Catalan independence leaders convicted of sedition and embezzlement.

Nine of the 12 political figures are serving sentences of 9-13 years in prison for attempting to break Catalonia away from Spain with a unilateral declaration of independence in October 2017.

Their imprisonment could be cut short with a constitutional pardon issued by the Spanish government.

Sánchez has repeatedly shown interest in granting the pardons “in benefit of the peaceful coexistence of Spaniards,” as he claimed in parliament Wednesday.

The Spanish PM said his decision will not be influenced by the number of MPs opposing the idea.

Sanchez’s Socialist Party (PSOE) holds 120 seats in parliament, out of a total 350.

“We will make the same call whether we have support from 300 MPs or only 120,” he said, circumventing the need to publicly seek support from pro-independence Catalan parties in parliament.

The Supreme Court issued a report Wednesday discouraging the pardons, but the advice is not legally binding.

The justices argued the convictions were perfectly proportional and appropriate to the charges they were found guilty of.

They also argued the convicted have shown no proof of repentance.

The government plans to reach a decision in the summer.

Sanchez advocated Tuesday for “looking towards the future and learning from our mistakes,” following a two-day European summit in Brussels.

“I will make a decision based on constitutional values,” he said. “Revenge or retaliation are not and have never been constitutional principles in my opinion.” (May 26, 2021, EFE)

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