Pardoned separatists leave prison demanding freedom for Catalonia
Vowing to keep fighting for an independent Catalonia, defiant separatist leaders who were jailed over their role in a failed 2017 bid for independence walked out of prison on Wednesday after Spain’s government granted them pardons.
The released politicians and activists, who carried a banner demanding “freedom for Catalonia”, were greeted by the pro-independence head of the Catalan regional government, Pere Aragones, amid cheers and clapping from supporters.
“There is no pardon that will silence the Catalan people, they will not silence us,” Jordi Cuixart, one of the pardoned separatists and head of Catalan cultural association Omnium, told reporters outside the Lledoners jail, an hour north of Barcelona.
Josep Rull, a former Catalan government official, said: “We will achieve Catalonia’s independence and we will win.”
The nine politicians and activists were sentenced in 2019 to between nine and 13 years for sedition and misuse of public funds, after an unauthorised referendum on a breakaway that led to a short-lived declaration of independence and Spain’s worst political crisis in decades.