Judge Sees 6-Year Catalan Independence Plot

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Spanish Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena says that Catalan separatist politicians and civil society groups have "colluded" for the past six years to execute a plan to declare Catalonia's independence, in violation of Spain's legal order.

Judge Sees 6-Year Catalan Independence Plot

In a court ruling issued Friday at the end of a four-month investigation into the turbulent events that led to a failed declaration of independence, Llarena said that 25 Catalans will be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobedience, AP reported.

Thirteen, including ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and members of his Cabinet, are charged with rebellion, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge has charged 13 Catalan separatist politicians, including fugitive president Carles Puigdemont, with rebellion for their attempt to declare independence from Spain.

Judge Pablo Llarena issued the indictment on Friday, wrapping a four-month long investigation into the events last fall.

Rebellion charges are punishable with up to 30 years in prison under Spanish laws.

Also charged with rebellion are Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras, former Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell, separatist activists Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart and ERC party leader Marta Rovira, who on Friday announced that she was fleeing Spain.

A prominent Catalan separatist politician has defied a summons to appear in a Spanish court and says in a letter to her party followers that she has chosen "the path to exile."

Marta Rovira does not say in the letter whether she has left Spain already or where she might go, but six other Catalan politicians, including ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, earlier fled to Brussels.

As the secretary general of the Catalan republican-left ERC party, Rovira played a key role in last year's events, including an independence referendum that led to a failed attempt to secede from Spain.

"Today I undertake a hard road, a path that, unfortunately, so many others that preceded us have had to take," Rovira wrote in a letter posted on ERC's website. "The path of exile."

The unity of Spain in enshrined in the country's Constitution and secession is not allowed without a reform of the top law.

A Spanish Supreme Court probe into last year's attempt to secede Catalonia from Spain wraps up Friday with the judge expected to charge 28 regional politicians and separatist leaders with offenses that may include rebellion.

Judge Pablo Llarena has summoned lawyers, prosecutors, as well as six separatist politicians — an indication that he may order them jailed pending trial. They include Jordi Turull, a former minister of the ousted regional Cabinet who on Thursday failed in his bid to be elected as the region's new president, as well as a former speaker of the Catalan parliament and prominent members of the republican-left ERC party.

Four other accused are already in custody and six have fled overseas.

The semiautonomous region has been without a leader for nearly five months after central authorities took control following an illegal independence declaration.

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