Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition over their role in the region’s failed bid for independence in 2017.
The three other defendants in the landmark ruling over a banned referendum and short-lived independence declaration were found guilty only of disobedience and not sentenced to prison. All defendants were acquitted of the most severe charge, rebellion.
The longest prison term went to former Catalan deputy leader Oriol Junqueras, who was given 13 years.
Four of the leaders were convicted of misuse of public funds.
Separatist protests have been largely peaceful but police sources have said authorities are prepared for potential violence.
The government has said it is ready to take direct control of Catalonia, as it did briefly in 2017, if the leaders of the movement break the law.
The ruling is likely to colour a national election on Nov. 10, Spain’s fourth in four years, scheduled for Nov. 10, and influence the direction taken by the separatist movement.