Sedition in Spain: Government jails leaders of Catalonia secessionist movement

 The Supreme Court of Spain sentenced multiple leaders associated with the protests for the secession of Catalonia. Most of them have been sentenced for 'sedition'.

Nine sentenced for sedition

Spain's Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine separatist leaders from Catalonia to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition over their role in a failed bid for independence in October 2017.

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Guilty of disobedience

The three other defendants in the landmark ruling, which stemmed from the holding of a referendum that had been banned and a short-lived independence declaration, were found guilty only of disobedience and not sentenced to prison.

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'Attack on democracy'

All defendants were acquitted of the gravest charge, rebellion, but other leading separatists were quick to call the ruling an "atrocity" and an "attack on democracy".

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'Much is at stake'

Much is at stake, both for Spain and for its wealthiest region, whose independence drive attracted worldwide attention, triggered Spain's biggest political crisis in decades and unnerved financial markets.

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Promise of peace?

The main questions are how separatists will react to the verdicts, whether the promise that protests will be peaceful holds, and how the standing of both Spain and the separatist movement are affected.

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Puigdemont labels it atrocity

The former head of Catalonia's regional government, Carles Puigdemont, said the prison sentences for the separatist leaders were an "atrocity".

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13 years in prison for protesting

The longest prison term - 13 years - went to the former deputy leader of the Catalan regional government, Oriol Junqueras. The court convicted Junqueras and eight other leaders on charges of sedition and four of them of misuse of public funds, the court ruling showed.

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Prepared for violence

Separatist protests have been largely peaceful but police sources have said authorities are prepared for any violence. Outside the Lledoners prison in the Catalan town of Sant Joan de Villatorrada where the leaders were being held, people embraced each other after learning the Supreme Court's verdict.

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Ready to take direct control

The government has said it is ready to take direct control of Catalonia as it did in 2017 if secessionist leaders break the law. The ruling is likely to colour a national election on November 10, Spain's fourth in four years, and influence the direction taken by the separatist movement.

(Photograph:Reuters)