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Judge Orders Release of 6 Catalan Politicians

  • VOA News

Civil servants shout pro-independence slogans during the protest asking for the release of leaders currently jailed in Barcelona, Spain Dec. 4, 2017.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge ordered the release of six jailed Catalan politicians Monday, but upheld the continued detention of two separatist activists and two other former members of the regional government, including the vice president.

Magistrate Pablo Llarena ordered ousted Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras, the former regional interior minister Joaquim Forn and the leaders of two Catalan separatist groups to remain in jail without bail.

According to a Supreme Court statement, the judge ruled that, while he considered there was no risk the defendants would leave the country, it remained to be seen if their pledges to respect Spanish law and renounce unilateral independence for Catalonia were “truthful and real.”

Llarena set bail at $118,000 for the six other Catalan politicians.

That decision allows them to join the campaign for December 21 regional election.

Ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four separatist allies who are also running for re-election are appearing in a Brussels court Monday for a second extradition hearing.

They are fighting return to Spain to face rebellion, sedition and embezzlement charges that can be punished with decades in prison under the Spanish law.

Whatever decision is made in Brussels, two appeals will be possible and a final ruling would come only after the December 21 vote called by Spain's central government, in which Puigdemont is leading his party's campaign.