“With this act, we want to open a new era of dialogue and reconciliation, and end once and for all the division and confrontation,” said Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in a televised address on Tuesday.
The prisoners’ release may take up to several days, as the pardons must first be signed by the king and published in the country’s official gazette.
The decision did not overturn the prisoners’ ban on holding office and was conditional on them not committing any other crimes within a certain period of time, Mr Sánchez explained.
He said the government did not require those pardoned to abandon their political ideas, underlining that they had been convicted for their actions and not their beliefs.
One of the nine who were imprisoned, Catalonia’s former foreign minister Raül Romeva, remained defiant.
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