16th February 2019
Jailed Catalan leaders
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Spain’s prosecutor to keep rebellion charges

The Spanish Public Prosecutor will keep rebellion charges against the nine Catalan leaders in pre-trial jail, according to Spanish press reports that quote sources in the judiciary.

Spanish radio Cadena Ser said on Saturday that the Spanish prosecutor will ask for the minimum prison sentence for pro-independence leaders: that is 15 years. The maximum jail time for rebellion can go up to 30 years.

However, another Spanish newspaper, ABC, said the prosecution will ask for prison sentences of between 25 and 30 years for the former Catalan vice president, Oriol Junqueras, for being the ‘leader’ of the alleged rebellion.

The other former ministers in jail and the former speaker of Parliament, according to these reports, would be asked to serve between 15 and 25 years, while the prosecution would ask between six and eight years for those currently on bail, accused of misuse of public funds.

Jailed Catalan leaders
Yellow ribbons in front of photos of jailed leaders Jordi Sánchez, Jordi Cuixart, Oriol Junqueras and Joaquim Forn at a Catalan National Assembly event on 25 February 2018 (by Maria Belmez).

Meanwhile, ABC says two activists in jail, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, could also get long prison sentences, depending on whether the judge considers them ‘leaders’ or ‘participants’ of the alleged ‘rebellion’.

The prosecutor is expected to file the charges in the coming days. Some international MEPs, such as Portuguese Ana Gomes, had urged the Spanish prosecutor to drop the charges altogether. Catalan politicians have also insisted in several occasions that the prosecutor should withdraw the charges.

The speaker of the Catalan parliament, Roger Torrent, said that the only solution to the political crisis is for the prisoners to be absolved. ‘The only acceptable result is the absolution. Voting is not a crime, October 1 was the democratic expression of a people,’ said Torrent.

Lawyers of the jailed ministers insisted on Sunday that their clients are innocent and that there was no rebellion in Catalonia. According to the Spanish Criminal Code, rebellion entails use of violence.

Courts in Germany and Belgium rejected last spring extraditing Catalan leaders exiled there – including former President Carles Puigdemont, after considering that there were no grounds to prosecute them for violent rebellion.

ALSO READ: National Day rally demands prison sentences for Catalan leaders

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