Spanish supreme court charges 13 Catalan leaders with rebellion

Catalan presidential candidate Jordi Turull in the regional parliament
Spain rejects plan to install nationalist Catalan leader
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25 March, 2018

The protests came after the Spanish Supreme Court detained five Catalan separatist leaders, including Catalan presidential candidate Jordi Turull.

In a court ruling issued Friday, Judge Llarena said that 25 Catalans in total will be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobedience.

Mr Turull is among former officials facing possible rebellion charges over the regional parliament's failed attempt past year to break away from Spain.

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont faces arrest in Finland after authorities there received an global warrant for his detention issued by Spain, the latest legal action against separatist politicians from the wealthy northeastern region.

The woman deputizing for the jailed Junqueras as leader of the pro-independence Catalan Republican Left (ERC) party, Marta Rovira, was also among those indicted, but failed to appear in court on Friday, saying in a letter that she too had made a decision to take "the path of exile".

Today, the Catalonian Parliament might vote again to elect a regional president.

"It is not right for a judge to do politics", Puigdemont said.

The central government has been running Catalonia from Madrid since snatching away Catalonia's regional powers over the October breakaway vote, which courts have ruled unconstitutional.

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The court decisions further inflamed the protesters in Barcelona, some of whom burnt pictures of King Felipe VI, a crime in Spain, as well as photos of judge Llarena.

Judge Llarena is reactivating an arrest warrant that he dropped previous year against Mr. Puigdemont and other former members of his cabinet, amid concerns that courts in Belgium, where he fled, would instead soften the charges against them.

Although the leadership vote for Mr Turull can no longer take place on Saturday, Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent said he would use the parliamentary session to read a statement in support of those in prison. She said: "I start a hard road, that of exile", and is believed to be in Switzerland where Anna Gabriel is now living.

Since then, Mr. Rajoy has repeatedly called on the separatists to form a new government that recognizes Spanish sovereignty and is not led by one of the politicians indicted by Spain's judiciary.

Catalonia held snap elections in December called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. While he could be elected by a simple majority vote on Saturday, it was unclear whether the vote could go ahead with Turull in prison.

Catalan television aired footage of more crowds in towns in the region, including Vic and Tarragona.

Opposition leader Ines Arrimadas of the Citizens party chided the separatists for not presenting a candidate free of legal problems, which the Spanish government has said is a prerequisite for it ending its takeover of Catalonia's regional affairs.


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