The sentences set off weeks of protests in the northeastern region, at times erupting in violent clashes that saw projectiles fired, cars torched and barricades set alight in the regional capital of Barcelona.
"It is clear that the Supreme Court's interpretation of the crime of sedition was overly broad and resulted in criminalising legitimate acts of protest," said Daniel Joloy, a senior policy advisor with Amnesty International.
The report homed in on the cases of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, two rights activists who were sentenced to nine years in prison for ignoring court orders by leading a protest against a police operation designed to halt the referendum.
As private citizens and the leaders of civil society organisations, both men had the right to express their opinions and organise peaceful meetings to support the push for independence in Catalonia, the organisation said.
The other jailed separatist leaders were politicians rather than rights activists. The statement published by Amnesty International did not spell out in details the group's views on what should happen to them.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Senior UK diplomat quits, saying she will not "peddle half-truths" over Brexit
Teenager who threw boy from London Tate Modern platform admits attempted murder
Gas explosion kills five in apartment block in Slovakia
Strike against pension reform paralyses France
Premier’s 100-day plan pledges Brexit, tax cuts
Striking unions battle Macron in pensions showdown
Nato members insist on unity despite summit differences
Johnson claimed children of working mothers ‘ill-raised’
First glimpse of latest Bond film goes online