Spanish judge jails two Catalonia independence leaders - Press Photo
MADRID - 17 October 2017: A Spanish judge has ruled that the leaders of the two biggest grassroots pro-independence associations in Catalonia should remain in prison without bail on possible charges of sedition - for which, if convicted, they could face prison sentences of up to 10 years.
An ongoing legal investigation claims Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the leader of the ANC movement, and Cuixart, who heads the Omnium Cultural association, were heavily involved in organizing a massive protest aimed at hindering a Guardia Civil investigation in Barcelona into the build-up for the 1 October illegal referendum, The Independent said.
Members of the Guardia Civil were trapped in Catalan government offices on 20 September as a result of thousands of protesters encircling the building, in what has been described as a “siege” and during which three police vehicles were destroyed.
Both Cuixart and Sanchez, who are now set to spend the night in a prison near Madrid, earlier refused to answer questions from the judge overseeing the investigation. Summoned to court twice on Monday, on entering they gave clenched fists victory salutes to a small group of supporters.
The chief of the Catalan police, Josep Lluis Trapero, was also questioned in the same courtroom on Monday for a second time in ten days, on possible charges of sedition over the regional police force’s allegedly overly passive role during the build-up to the 1 October referendum.
Trapero, who prosecutors had also asked to be detained, was finally released without bail, although his passport was confiscated.
The imprisonment of two of their best-known local leaders has provoked outrage amongst the separatist movement, further raising tension on an already exceptionally fraught day in Spain’s prolonged political crisis in Catalonia.