The nine Catalan pro-independence jailed leaders have left the prisons in Catalonia where they had been incarcerated for the last seven months.
They have started the journey towards Madrid prisons in preparation for the trial against them, to be held in the Spanish capital.
The jailed leaders where in three Catalan prisons and around 6am this morning, the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, moved them all to one, Brians II, where the Spanish Guardia Civil police are due to take over their guard to transfer them all in one vehicle to two Madrid centers.
In Brians II several members of the Catalan government led by the president, Quim Torra, were waiting for them from the early morning to support them before they leave Catalonia for the trial, whose start date is still unknown.
Dozens of people rallied outside the prisons to support them, and some unsuccessfully tried to cut the roads in order to avoid them being moved.
In total, nine people are in pre-trial jail for their role in Catalonia’s push for independence, including six former ministers, two activists, and the former parliament speaker that allowed a vote on independence to take place.
The public prosecutor has requested a joint total 177 years prison sentence, including 25 years for Oriol Junqueras,the highest individual proposed sentence.
The sensitive trial will start more than a year after Catalan leaders in the northeastern region attempted to break away from Spain in October 2017 by staging the referendum despite a court ban.
They subsequently proclaimed independence but Spain’s then conservative government moved swiftly to depose the Catalan executive, dissolve the regional parliament and call snap local elections in December.
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