Madrid, Nov 2 (IANS) Spain’s public prosecutor on Friday filed a rebellion charge against Catalan leaders who were being held in pre-trial detention for their alleged roles in a banned independence referendum last year.
In its formal accusation, the prosecutor was seeking sentences of between 16-25 years for the jailed politicians, with the highest sentence being sought for the Vice President of the since defunct Catalan government, Oriol Junqueras, Efe news reported.
Nine politicians from the wealthy region in northeastern Spain have been held in custody since the Catalan independence bid in October 2017.
Meanwhile, the deposed President of the Catalan government, Carles Puigdemont, was in self-imposed exile in Belgium.
Besides a jail term of 25 years being sought for Junqueras, the prosecutor was requesting 16 years for five former Cabinet members and 17 years for the former heads of civic associations Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart as well as the former Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell.
Spain’s Solicitor General, representing the state, meanwhile filed charges of sedition and misuse of public funds against the Catalan politicians.
It asked for a 12-year sentence for Junqueras, 11 and a half for five former ministers, 10 years of Forcadell and eight years for Sànchez and Cuixart.
Rebellion is punishable by between 15-30 years under the Spanish law, while sedition carries sentences of between 10-15 years.
Following the Catalan government’s unilateral declaration of independence, the Spanish government under then Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy activated Article 155 of the Constitution, which restricted Catalonia’s regional autonomy, dissolved regional institutions and temporarily brought them under Madrid’s direct rule.