Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Spanish judge jails eight ousted Catalan ministers

Carles Puigdemont Catalan leaders due before Madrid court on rebellion charge
Saul Franklin | 03 November, 2017, 01:05

Nearby in the Spanish capital's National Court, which hears major criminal cases, eight former Catalan government members were being questioned after also being summoned in the investigation into the secession drive.

Reports say the Catalan leaders standing trial in Madrid have been denied bail and there are growing fears that it may trigger fresh uprising among those clamouring for the Catalonia break away.

The struggle has divided Catalonia itself and caused deep resentment across the rest of Spain.

Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said despite the fact that Puigdemont is in Brussels, "there's no tension" between the Madrid government and that of Brussels.

Eight sacked Catalan ministers have been remanded in custody by a Spanish high court judge over the region's push for independence.

On Monday, Spain's state prosecutor accused Mr Puigdemont of rebellion and sedition for organising the independence referendum held on 1 October.

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Under Spain's legal system, investigating judges can order the detention of suspects while a comprehensive probe, sometimes taking months, determines if charges should be brought.

In response to Catalonia declaring independence weeks later, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stripped the region of its autonomy and unseated its legislators.

First the Catalan parliament, then the Spanish government, now the judiciary.

The Supreme Court adjourned hearings into former members of the Catalan parliament until 9 November to give them time to prepare a defence.

The courts have already told the Catalan secessionist leaders to deposit 6.2 million euros ($7.2 million) by Friday to cover potential liabilities.

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