Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has confirmed that his government will on Tuesday pardon nine Catalan political leaders jailed for their roles in organising the region’s independence referendum in October 2017.
The nine Catalan politicians all received long prison sentences of between nine and 13 years for sedition, reports Xinhua news agency.
Sanchez announced the decision at an event on Monday called “Coming together again: a forward-looking project for all of Spain” held at Barcelona’s emblematic Liceu Theatre.
“The pandemic has reminded us that we almost always need each other to reach an agreement and someone has to take the first step,” he said.
The Prime Minister stressed that the measure would help “rebuild social harmony from respect and regard”.
“I am convinced that taking nine people from prison, who represent thousands of Catalans, is a resounding message of the will for social harmony in Spanish democracy…
“We cannot start from scratch, but we can start again,” Sanchez added.
The Catalan independence referendum of 2017 was declared unconstitutional and suspended by the Constitutional Court of Spain.