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New hearings held for Catalan separatists in Spain

Europe
20.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Madrid (dpa) - The Spanish judiciary has begun questioning separatists from the north-east region of Catalonia again, following a break in proceedings of several weeks.

Artur Mas, a former president of Catalonia, said on Tuesday in court in Madrid that the decision by the Catalan parliament for independence in October only had a "symbolic meaning."

Unlike other separatists, Mas, who began the fight for independence as regional president in 2012, hasn‘t been held in detention.

Following the region‘s independence declaration, several Catalan politicians were charged with rebellion, sedition and misappropriation of public funds for their role in the region‘s independence push.

Many of the politicians who were arrested are still being held in detention and may face up to 30 years in prison.

Anna Gabriel, spokeswoman for the hard-left CUP party, has fled in the meantime to Switzerland.

"Because I won‘t get a fair trial at home, I chose a country that can protect my rights," the CUP cited Gabriel as saying on Twitter.

Gabriel, who has been issued a summons to appear in court in Spain, has told court that she won‘t return for the hearing.

Carles Puigdemont, who was ousted from his position as president after the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence in late October, fled to Belgium with other separatists.

In fresh elections in December, separatist parties again won the majority of seats in the Catalan parliament.

Puigdemont is the only candidate for his former post, but can‘t take on the role without returning to Spain, where he is threatened with arrest.

 

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