Pressing its legal case against the Catalan separatist movement, Spain’s highest court, the Tribunal Supremo, has ruled 25 secessionists involved with the 2017 attempted breakaway of the region would be tried with rebellion.
In addition to the charge of rebellion, the group faces charges of embezzlement — misappropriation of public funds — and disobeying the state.
Of the 25 charged on Friday, March 23, five former pro-independence leaders Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Carme Forcadell, Raul Romeva, and Dolors Bassa were ordered held without bail.
The five held now join five other pro-independence leaders, including former Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras, jailed since last year.
Judges on the panel similarly issued arrest warrants for Esquerra Republicana party leader, Marta Rovira, and Carles Puigdemont, former president of Catalan.
Explaining she would choose a refuge outside Spain, Rovira reportedly fled to Switzerland after avoiding court.
In a message posted on the Catalan Republican Left party website, Rovira stated:
“Today I undertake a hard road, a path that, unfortunately, so many others that preceded us have had to take, the path of exile.”
Puigdemont, who sought refuge in Belgium in November 2017, was detained in Germany on Sunday. He is wanted in Spain on charges of sedition and rebellion.
Puigdemont and fellow separatists have repeatedly denied wrongdoing, declaring the Catalan independence referendum empowered the pro-independence movement to break away from Madrid.
Following the Tribunal ordering separatists jailed and issuing arrest warrants, protesters gathered in central Barcelona to demonstrate against the action.
Organized by pro-separatist groups, demonstrators convening in front of federal building in Barcelona waved Catalan flags, burned images of Tribunal judges and King Felipe, and blocked roadways.
Police reported two dozen injuries and scores of arrests.
[The Local Spain] [BBC] [RT] [Photo courtesy AP via Sputnik News]