Supreme Court judge Manuel Marchena, centre, arrives at the court in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Spain's Supreme Court is set to rule on a rebellion and sedition trial against a dozen Catalan politicians and activists who were key protagonists in Catalonia's Oct. 1, 2017, independence referendum. (AP Photo/Paul White)

The Latest: Catalan chief asks for amnesty for separatists

October 14, 2019 - 7:15 am

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the conviction of Catalan politicians and activists (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

Catalan regional president Quim Torra has urged Spain to "end repression" and grant "amnesty" to convicted and fugitive separatists.

Torra said Monday after the Supreme Court released the verdict that sentenced nine separatist leaders to nine to 13 years from their role in an illegal 2017 secession bid that he would ask for an urgent meeting with Spanish caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

Torra said "We call for an end to repression, for the release of the political prisoners ... for an amnesty that should mark an endpoint for all of those who have suffered reprisals."

He adds: "We reaffirm our commitment...to move forward, with no excuses, on the path to the Catalan Republic."

The central government has the power to grant pardons if the convicted ask for one. Several of the convicted separatists said before the verdict that they would not.

An amnesty would have to be granted by the national Parliament. That appears unlikely.

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12:55 p.m.

Soccer club Barcelona has criticized the Spanish Supreme Court's conviction of 12 Catalan politicians and activists for their role in a 2017 secession attempt, saying "prison is not the solution."

The Catalan club said in a statement that the resolution of the independence debate in Catalonia must come "exclusively from political dialogue."

It called on "political leaders to lead a process of dialogue and negotiation," and pave the way for the prisoners' release.

Barcelona is one of Catalonia's most cherished institutions. It has long had an ambiguous relationship with the independence movement with Catalan independence flags a regular feature at home games.

For years, separatists unfurled a massive banner reading "Catalonia is not Spain" at the Camp Nou Stadium.

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10:55 a.m.

Hundreds of students and civil servants have begun protesting in different parts of Barcelona following the sentencing of nine Catalan separatist leaders to prison.

Protesters blocked some roads in Barcelona, while civil servants gathered outside some government buildings.

"Today they have violated all their rights. It is horrible that Europe doesn't act," 60-year-old civil servant Deni Saball said while protesting in the street. "I don't want to be European. I don't want to be Spanish."

Protests were also reported in other towns across the wealthy northeastern region.

The Supreme Court sentenced nine leaders to sentences from 9-13 years for sedition and misuse of public funds. Three more were given fines but not jail time.

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10:45 a.m.

Former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras says the region's independence from Spain "is closer than ever."

After being sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in an illegal 2017 secession attempt, Junqueras said "we Catalans do not have an alternative."

The comments were carried by his Republican Left party after the sentence by the Supreme Court was released on Monday.

Former Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, who fled Spain to Belgium along with several others following the failed secession bid, wrote on Twitter that he was appalled by the verdict.

"A total of 100 year of prison. How horrible. Now more than ever, we will be you and your families. For the future of our sons and daughters. For democracy. For Europe. For Catalonia," he said.

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9:40 a.m.

Spain's Supreme Court has convicted 12 former Catalan politicians and activists for their roles in the secession movement of 2017.

The court on Monday sentenced the former regional vice president, Oriol Junqueras, to 13 years for sedition and misuse of public funds.

The 12 were tried for their actions in a 2017 attempt by Catalonia to break away from Spain following an illegal independence referendum.

Grassroots pro-secession groups have previously said that if any of the defendants were found guilty they would organize protests and "peaceful civil disobedience."

Spanish authorities have deployed hundreds of extra police to the region in anticipation of the ruling.

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