Inside Story

Why has Spain released Catalan separatist leaders from jail?

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pardons politicians and activists jailed for the 2017 secession referendum.

Nine politicians and activists convicted for trying to break the Catalonia region away from Spain are free again.

They were jailed for up to 13 years for holding an illegal referendum in 2017, but Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez gave them a pardon on Tuesday.

Sanchez hopes his gesture will foster a peaceful dialogue about Catalonia’s future.

But the leaders say they will keep fighting for the region’s secession.

A recent poll found 60 percent of Spaniards oppose the pardons.

So could Sanchez’s decision backfire on him and create more division?

Presenter: Mohammed Jamjoom


Mar Aguilera Vaqués – Professor of constitutional law at Barcelona University

Ruth Ferrero – Lecturer in political science and senior researcher at Complutense University of Madrid.

Pieter Cleppe – EU policy analyst and editor of BrusselsReport.EU