Catalan Separatist Leaders Get Lengthy Prison Terms for Sedition – The New York Times

While the seven judges of the Supreme Court found the Catalan leaders guilty of secession, they did not sentence them for rebellion, a crime that could have resulted in prison sentences as long as 25 years.

By discarding the charge of rebellion, the Supreme Court could now help Spain’s judiciary reactivate its efforts to extradite Mr. Puigdemont and a few other Catalan politicians who fled in late 2017, after they were ousted from office by the Spanish government, which used emergency constitutional powers to impose a period of direct rule over Catalonia.

Over the past two years, Mr. Puigdemont has successfully fought against extradition attempts from Belgium and Germany, where local judges rejected the Spanish claim that he had led a rebellion.

Mr. Sánchez was expected to make a televised address to the nation later on Monday. But center-right Spanish politicians welcomed the ruling. Pablo Casado, the leader of the main opposition Popular Party, called on Mr. Sánchez to promise not use his executive right to grant an early pardon to the condemned Catalan politicians.

“Whoever does it, pays it,” Mr. Casado said.

In a televised news conference, Laura Borras, a separatist lawmaker, called the ruling “profoundly anti-democratic” and a violation not only of the rights of elected politicians, but also of the more than two 2 million people who voted for separatist parties in Catalonia in recent years.

“This is a ruling that creates irreparable damage,” Ms. Borras said.

On Twitter, Mr. Junqueras said, “We will return stronger, more convinced and firmer than ever.”

The former Catalan leaders could still appeal their case before Spain’s Constitutional Court, if they could demonstrate that their fundamental rights had been violated, as well as to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

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