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Catalonia's pro-independence activists were arrested by Spain's security forces in 2019.
Spain’s Justice Minister Juan Carlos Campo announced this Wednesday that his institution will process the petitions for pardon requested in favor of nine Catalan leaders who were convicted of sedition due to their participation in the 2017 pro-independence referendum.
He also mentioned that the administration of President Pedro Sanchez intends to reform the Penal Code to adapt the definitions of crimes related to rebellion and sedition to the new prevailing social realities and regulations in force in other countries.
The Spanish government's decision was criticized by the far-right Popular Party (PP), which argued that the Catalan issue flourishes every time public budgets are being negotiated.
Local outlet Comunicacion Politica reported that the PP and other conservative political groups threatened to go to court if the pardons are processed because denying them is "fully justified."
Six out of nine Catalan political prisoners were members of the regional government. In October 2019, they were sentenced to up to 13 years in prison for having taken part in the referendum in which most Catalans approved their country separation from Spain.
Because of the political persecution against him, the Catalan government's former president Carles Puigdemont sought refuge in Belgium where he lives until now.
“A year has gone by since nine members of Catalonia's pro-independence movement were arrested by paramilitary Guardia Civil police, which has found NO proof whatsoever! One year of fabrication by Spain's top Nacional court,” Catalan citizen Jordi Vilanova tweeted.