THE TRIAL of 12 Catalan separatist leaders involved in a bid to secede from Spain will start this coming Tuesday in Madrid.
Nine of the accused are charged with rebellion for their role in an illegal referendum in October 2017. They face up to 25 years in jail.
In pre-trial detention for months, the nine were being transferred from Catalunya to prisons near Madrid last Friday.
Supporters in Barcelona cheered them as they were taken away, waving the region’s red, yellow and blue separatist flag.
Three others will also stand trial, accused of disobedience and misuse of public funds.
What about exiled Carles Puigdemont?
Carles Puigdemont – who played a key role in the separatist drive and is in self-imposed exile in Belgium – is not part of those being sent to trial.
Spain’s supreme court dropped its international arrest warrants for Mr Puigdemont in July last year. In October he launched a new separatist party called Crida Nacional (National Call) from his new base of Belgium.
Speaking this week in the Republic of Ireland’s capital Dublin, the separatist leader said he wants the political conflict with Spain to be resolved “peacefully”. Puigdemont will follow the trial from self-imposed exile in Belgium