Catalonian separatist leaders jailed by Spanish Supreme Court

The Spanish Supreme Court has sentenced nine separatist leaders from Catalonia to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition over their role in a failed independence bid, triggering protests across the region. 

Three other defendants who were also on trial for their involvement in the October 2017 referendum held in spite of a ban and a short-lived independence declaration, were found guilty only of disobedience and not sentenced to prison. 

All defendants were acquitted of the gravest charge, rebellion, but leading separatists were quick to condemn the court’s decision and the jailed men sent out messages of defiance, urging people to take to the streets. 

Reuters reports former head of Catalonia’s regional government, Carles Puigdemont, as saying that the prison sentences were an “atrocity”, and the head of the regional parliament Roger Torrent called them an “attack on democracy”

In Barcelona, three main streets were blocked by protesters holding signs calling for “Freedom for political prisoners”. Outside the pro-independence Omnium Cultural headquarters in Barcelona, a crowd chanted “We’ll do it again” - a slogan used by separatist supporters who want to hold another referendum. 

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