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Spanish Judge Orders 9 Former Catalan Leaders Jailed

  • VOA News

Spanish national police officers stand guard outside Spain's High Court where dismissed Catalan government Cabinet members were testifying on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for defying the central government by holding a referendum on secession and proclaiming independence, in Madrid, Spain, Nov. 2, 2017.

A Spanish judge Thursday ordered nine former leaders from Catalonia jailed while they are investigated on possible charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement connected to their push for the region's independence from Spain.

The judge later granted one of them bail at $58,300.

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was not among those who appeared in court in Madrid. A state prosecutor has called for an international arrest warrant to be issued for Puigdemont as he did not abide by a court order to appear. Puigdemont, along with four members of his former Cabinet, have been in Brussels for a week.

Puigdemont has dismissed the charges against him as politically motivated and said he would only return to Spain if he receives a guarantee that the legal process will be impartial and fair.

Deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is seen after wrapping up a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, Oct. 31, 2017.
Deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is seen after wrapping up a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, Oct. 31, 2017.

Prosecutors have filed charges against 14 Catalan leaders, including Puigdemont and his deputy, Oriol Junqueras.

Spain's central government moved to take control of Catalonia last week and disbanded the regional parliament in response to an October 1 independence referendum and subsequent declaration of independence by Catalan lawmakers.

Catalonia itself is divided on the secession issue. Those who participated in the referendum opted for independence, but the opposition boycotted the vote, while the Madrid government also declared it illegal.

Last week's move to strip Catalonia of its autonomy included setting up new elections in the region for December.

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