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Pedro Sánchez welcomes Catalan prison sentences and advocates “new era” 

The decision by Spain’s Supreme Court to impose prison sentences on nine Catalan independence leaders for their role in the illegal October 2017 referendum has been welcomed by acting Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez.

They were given jail terms ranging from nine to 13 years for sedition and embezzlement but were not convicted of the more serious crime of rebellion which could have doubled the time.
Three other former ministers were only given fines and barred from holding office for one year and eight months.
Sr. Sánchez said: “On behalf of the Government, I would like to acknowledge the indepen-dent work of the Supreme Court, which has acted with the utmost respect for its obli-gations. This Court has proven itself to be a model of indepen-dence and transparency, safeguards and professiona-lism; demonstrating yet again the proper functioning of our judiciary.”
He said the Government of Spain would remain vigilant in its commitment to safeguarding co-existence, security and respect for democratic legality.
“We will do so as we have always said we would: with democratic firmness, propor-tionality, and unity,” he pledged. “Democratic firm-ness, applying the law. Proportionality, responding calmly and prudently to any such transgressions as may be committed. And unity, know-ing we can rely on the loyal cooperation of all those political parties and move-ments committed to the Constitution to respond with a single voice.”
The acting Prime Minister also added: “The Government will always contribute to facilitating reconciliation within Catalan society, fractured by independen-tism.
Catalonia must engage in dialogue with Catalonia. What is now at stake is no longer the territorial integrity of Spain but co-existence within Catalonia. The Go-vernment and Parliament of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia must assume the responsibility of re-presenting all Catalans, of governing for all Catalans, not for an independentist minority. If they assume said responsi-bility, they will find that the Government of Spain is willing to contribute to the dialogue within a frame-work of constitutional legality.”
“Today we are witnessing the conclusion of exemplary judicial proceedings, but we are also hearing confirmation of the shipwreck of a political process that has failed in its attempt to obtain internal support and international recognition. All it leaves in its wake is an unhappy balance of pain and confrontation.”
“As of today, if we abandon extremisms, we can embark upon a new era in which harmony can prosper once again in Catalonia. An era in which the modern, plural
and tolerant Catalonia will play the key role accorded to it, by law and by history, with-in Spain. An era in which we all jointly contribute to streng-thening Europe.”