The Spanish government is expected within a matter of weeks to grant pardons to several Catalan separatists jailed for their involvement in holding an illegal pro-independence referendum in 2017, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.
The pardons could be finalised by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, “in the coming weeks,” Finance Minister María Jesús Montero said Tuesday (15 June) ahead of a meeting between Sánchez and the president of the Catalan regional government, Pere Aragonès.
Sources told El País that pardons would be granted after the EU summit set to be held in Brussels from 24-25 June, with 29 June or 6 July mooted as possible dates. Sánchez plans to explain his decision before parliament by then, the newspaper said.
The justice ministry said it has almost completed all the technical procedures needed to grant the pardons.
If confirmed, the measure would be a bid to seek solutions to the long and complex Catalan crisis, the ruling Spanish coalition of the socialist party (PSOE) and left-wing United We Can has said.
Of the 12 separatist leaders convicted in 2017, nine have been in prison for more than three years.
Sánchez’s indications that his government would pardon the pro-independence leaders has divided Spain between those who see it as a necessary step to improve relations with the region and those who consider it an undue concession to separatists who have shown no remorse and have vowed to continue fighting for independence.
[Edited by Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny and Josie Le Blond]