Spain's Supreme Court reviews jailing of Catalan separatists
December 01, 2017 - 2:18 AM
MADRID - A Spanish Supreme Court judge on Friday began reviewing detention orders against two Catalan pro-independence activists and eight former members of the separatist regional cabinet ousted over a month ago.
The 10 requested Friday's court appearance to pledge lawful behaviour and renounce unilateral independence efforts in the hope of being released.
Most of them are running in the Dec. 21 regional election that Spanish central authorities called after they took control of Catalonia in response to the regional lawmakers' declaration of independence in late October.
Spain also sacked the regional government as part of unprecedented measures to rein in the country's deepest political crisis in nearly four decades of democratic rule.
The lower National Court provisionally jailed the 10 while magistrates probe their roles in relation to the secession bid.
The eight politicians, including former regional Vice-President Oriol Junqueras, face possible charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement that can be punished with decades in prison. They were among the leading figures involved in events that crystalized in an independence declaration by the Catalan parliament in late October.
Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four ex-ministers are fighting extradition from Belgium over similar charges.
"We want you at home. You must leave the jail because you should have never entered it. Do whatever is necessary to come out. We have a lot to do," wrote Puigdemont in a tweet on Friday.
Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the two leaders of grassroots separatist groups Assemblea Nacional Catalana and Omnium Cultural respectively, are accused of sedition for their roles in protests in Barcelona that hindered a judicial investigation into preparations for an independence referendum on Oct. 1.
Supreme Court magistrate Pablo Llarena is due to decide whether to release the group or uphold the provisional jailing after they testify individually on Friday.
Activist supporters and party aides of the defendants said that money had been raised to make immediate payments if the judge sets a bail for the release of the politicians and activists.
News from © The Associated Press, 2017