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Spanish court jails 9 Catalan separatist leaders for sedition while Puigdemont remains in exile

Spanish court jails 9 Catalan separatist leaders for sedition while Puigdemont remains in exile
Former Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras has been sentenced to 13 years in prison by Spain's Supreme Court for his role in the attempted secession by authorities in Barcelona in 2017.

Junqueras was among nine separatist leaders who were sentenced to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition for their part in the region's failed 2017 independence bid which captured headlines around the world.

A further three defendants were found guilty of disobedience but were not handed prison sentences for their participation in both the banned referendum and short-lived independence declaration. All defendants were acquitted of the most serious charge of rebellion.

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A further three defendants were found guilty of disobedience but were not handed prison sentences. Meanwhile, the former regional president and face of the separatist movement Carles Puigdemont remains in exile in Belgium. In a statement in response to the sentencing, he described the 100 years of total prison time for the former leaders as an "atrocity." 

“It is time to react ... for the future of our sons and daughters. For democracy. For Europe. For Catalonia,” the former leader wrote on Twitter.

After jailing the nine separatist leaders, the court issued a European arrest warrant for Puigdemont himself. Madrid had sought to arrest him before, but dropped the warrant in July 2018 after Germany refused to extradite him.

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