NINE Catalan “political prisoners” are to be pardoned for their part in the 2017 independence referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

Spain’s socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez made the announcement in the Catalan capital Barcelona, during a speech setting out what he saw as the future of the wealthy north-eastern area.

He told civic society representatives his cabinet would approve the pardons tomorrow.

A total of 12 politicians and activists were convicted of sedition and other crimes and nine were jailed for between nine and 13 years.

Most Unionists boycotted the vote, which was marred by police violence as they tried to stop it.

No prominent indy supporters attended Sanchez’s address at Barcelona’s Opera House, while pro-indy protests were held outside.

Catalan President Pere Aragonès, who did not attend the Opera House, said the pardons were not enough.

“The unjust sentencing is now corrected but it is a partial, incomplete solution,” he told reporters at another event in the Ebre river region.

He said the real way out of the issue would be an amnesty for everyone involved in judicial procedures stemming from the indy push, which would include the jailed politicians and activists, and also those in exile – such as former president Carles Puigdemont and former minister Clara Ponsati.

The announcement from Sanchez came as the Council of Europe (CoE) debated a report calling for the prisoners’ release and ending the persecution of those in exile – the first time a political assessment of the trial has been addressed in-depth by a European institution.

However, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and People’s Party (PP) have tabled amendments omitting any reference to extending the pardons to the exiles and those who had held high office, such as former president Quim Torra, who was sacked for displaying yellow ribbons on government buildings.