Podemos Calls for Release of Catalan Independence Leaders Before Election

THE LEADER of Podemos in Barcelona has called on the release of jailed pro-independence leaders before the next Catalan regional elections.

Jaume Asens, the Podemos former deputy mayor of the city, told a Barcelona press conference that ‘it would be good if in the next Catalan elections the pro-independence leaders were out of prison’. He argued that their release would allow future regional votes to not focus exclusively ‘around the prisoners or the questions of repression’ which has been the focal issue of Catalan politics since the illegally held 2017 independence referendum.

In the aftermath of the illegal referendum, which sparked immense controversy in Catalonia and nationwide, 8 of the 12 alleged leaders were jailed for between 9 and 12 years for the crime of ‘sedition’.

There are two ways Asens says that the release of the prisoners could be reached, saying that ‘there is time for reform’ and ‘one way or another, its achievable’. One way would be obtaining a pardon from the Supreme Court and High Court, though Asens has said that ‘it is worrying how long it is taking the Supreme Court to evaluate its report’.

Another way for the independence leaders to leave prison would be reforming and reducing the penalty in Spanish law for the crime of sedition. Asens argues that ‘the pardon is there to reduce the harsh sentences’ which he describes as ‘absolutely disproportionate’ as the leaders had not advocated violence.

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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...