SPAIN’s Supreme Court has opposed the granting of pardons to political and civic leaders jailed for their part in the Catalan independence push four years ago.

Nine prominent pro-indy figures were jailed for between nine and 13 years after being found guilty of sedition following the 2017 bid to establish the Catalan republic.

They include former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sanchez, who was president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Jordi Cuixart, who led Omnium Cultural, as well as former Catalan government ministers.

However, legislation from 1870 leaves the ultimate responsibility for granting or rejecting such pardons with the Spanish government, which had previously said it was awaiting the court’s non-binding decision.

Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s Socialist prime minister, said he would decide on the amnesties in line with the constitutional values of “concord, dialogue and understanding”, and rejected “revenge”.

He told the Spanish Congress yesterday: “The constitution establishes that there is a time for punishment and a time for agreement.”

Sanchez has indicated a desire to tackle “a crisis that cracks Catalan society” and a return to coexistence.

And while he was critical of the right-wing People’s Party (PP) for creating a political battle over the issue, he supported the imposition of direct rule from Madrid in the aftermath of the 2017 declaration of Catalan independence, “to defend the territorial integrity of the country and because I understood that it was a matter of state”.

He said yesterday: “I wish I had the loyalty that Mariano Rajoy [former PP Spanish president] received from the Socialist party.”

Spain’s right-wing parties suspect that Sanchez will ultimately grant pardons to the independence leaders, who are known in Catalonia as “political prisoners”.

Pablo Casado, who leads the PP, accused him of having lied to the Spanish people to win the election, and had “betrayed his word, the code of ethics of the Socialist party”.

Pro-independence parties have demanded an amnesty law that would quash the Supreme Court verdict for sedition, but Spain’s right-wing parties have threatened the Socialist-led coalition government with legal action for what they call a concession to the “enemies of Spain”.

The court’s finding came as new Catalan President Pere Aragones and his 14 ministers officially took office yesterday morning.

Coalition partners the Republic Left (Esquerra) and Together for Catalonia (Junts) will each be responsible for an equal number of government departments.