Spain sends former members of Catalan cabinet to prison

ANI | Updated: Nov 03, 2017 07:28 IST

Madrid [Spain], Nov. 3 (ANI): A Spanish judge on Thursday ordered eight former Catalan ministers to be remanded in custody over their roles in the Catalonia's unilateral declaration of independence.

According to the Anadolu Agency, one of the ex-ministers was granted bail.

Only nine out of 14 former members of the cabinet facing charges of rebellion, sedition and misappropriation of funds showed up to Thursday's hearing.

Ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four other members of his cabinet who did not attend the hearing are said to be in Belgium.

The prosecutor also requested that a European arrest warrant for Puigdemont, as well for the other four missing, be issued.

Earlier this week, the Spanish government warned to jail Puigdemont, within two months.

The warning came after thousands took to the streets of Barcelona on Sunday under the Spanish flag for a unity rally after Catalan MPs vote for independence two days ago.

In the aftermath of the independence vote, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy deposed Catalan president and the Parliament to impose direct ruler over it and called for a new regional election on December 21.

According to the report, Spanish prosecutors on Friday said that they would file charges of rebellion against Puigdemont, a crime punishable with up to 30 years in prison.

The Catalan Government had said that it earned the right to split from Spain, claiming 90 percent of those who voted in referendum were in favour of independence.

Before Madrid's imposition of direct rule over it, Catalonia enjoyed wide autonomy, including control over its own policing, education and healthcare.

Catalan nationalists have always argued that the region is a separate nation with its own history, culture and language, and that it should have increased fiscal independence. (ANI)