Thirteen Catalan politicians charged with rebellion

Joann Johnston
March 24, 2018

Spanish media reported that she went to Switzerland.

Rovira was only charged with rebellion for the attempt to make Catalonia independent of Spain. "Long live a Catalan Republic for all!"

Llarena also issued global arrest warrants for former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is in self-imposed exile in Belgium along with four of his former ministers.

The separatist majority failed to elect a regional government in a Thursday vote. That started a two-month countdown to find a leader and a government, otherwise another election must be called. Jordi Turull, the leading candidate to be the next president of Catalonia, was among the group Llarena sent to prison.

Speaking at a press conference at the University of Helsinki on Friday, Carles Puigdemont denied discussing exile with Marta Rovira, who defied a summons to appear in Spanish court hours earlier.

In explaining his decision to bring charges, Llarena said Catalan separatist politicians and groups had plotted ways of achieving Catalonia's independence for the past six years.

"It is not right for a judge to do politics", the former leader said just moments after the court ruling.

Twelve other former ministers and civic activists face lesser charges of contempt for the state and embezzling €1.6 million in public funds to stage an illegal independence referendum last October.

The court's decision means a second leadership vote for Turull which was due to take place on Saturday will not happen because his presence is compulsory.

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Twenty-five Catalan leaders will be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state, Spain's Supreme Court ruled on Friday, in a sharp escalation of legal action against separatists in the northeastern region.

Among them was Jordi Turull, a close ally of Puigdemont who was put forward on Thursday to become the next regional president, although he failed to obtain enough votes after a small far-left secessionist group broke ranks and abstained.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge has charged 13 Catalan separatist politicians, including fugitive president Carles Puigdemont, with rebellion for their attempt to declare independence from Spain.

The four have been in pre-trial detention for months.

The ruling also covered Puigdemont's former deputy, Oriol Junqueras; pro-independence civil society campaigners, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart and former Catalan interior minister, Joaquim Forn.

Marta Rovira, who announced she was taking "the road to exile". The charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in jail.

Judge Pablo Llarena has summoned lawyers, prosecutors, as well as six separatist politicians - an indication that he may order them jailed pending trial.

Thousands of protesters descended on the streets of Catalonia late Friday after Spain's supreme court detained five separatist leaders for their role in last year's independence bid.

Llarena said the five detainees posed a serious flight risk and could seek to push ahead with their plans for unilateral independence if allowed to remain at liberty.

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