Spain’s Cabinet aims for a fresh start by pardoning Catalans

MADRID (AP) — The Spanish Cabinet is meeting Tuesday to issue pardons for nine imprisoned Catalans who spearheaded the 2017 effort to form an independent republic in the affluent northeastern region, a move that Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says is needed to bring reconciliation. The measure has been opposed by Spain’s right-wing and many on the left, becoming a risky political gamble for Sánchez, the Socialists leader.  Europe’s leading human rights body, the Council of Europe, backed the pardons in a resolution passed by its assembly late on Monday. Tensions over secession in the Catalan-speaking region of 7.5 million grew in earnest a decade ago amid recession-driven economic hardship and discontent over a conservative administration opposition to greater autonomy.