On 22 June 2021, Spain’s government approved the reversible and conditional pardons of the nine Catalan independence leaders who were jailed over their roles in the organisation of the referendum for the independence of Catalonia in October 2017. Among them, two civil society leaders, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez were sentenced to 9 years for organising peaceful protests alongside the referendum for the crime of sedition. This sentence was criticised by many civic organisations in Spain and abroad.

A report approved in June by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) also called for the pardon of the nine convicted leaders.

We can only welcome the fact that the nine Catalan political and civil society leaders are set free. The full consequences of the decision taken by the Spanish government need to be further analysed.