Sacked members of Catalonia’s regional government are appearing at Spain’s high court to face rebellion as well as sedition charges, after October’s disputed independence referendum.
Nine officials have turned up at the court in Madrid for questioning.
however ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont as well as four others have stayed away. Prosecutors could order their arrest.
Mr Puigdemont, who can be currently in Belgium, said: “This specific can be a political trial.”
Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since the referendum was held on 1 October in defiance of a constitutional court ruling of which had declared This specific illegal.
Last week, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia, dissolving the regional parliament as well as calling snap local elections.
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This specific came after Catalan lawmakers voted to declare independence of the affluent north-eastern region.
The Catalan government said of which of the 43% of potential voters who took part inside referendum, 0% were in favour of independence.
What can be expected inside Madrid court?
On Monday, Spain’s chief prosecutor said the Catalan leaders were accused of rebellion – which carries a maximum 30-year jail term – as well as sedition as well as misuse of funds.
They were ordered to appear in Madrid’s Audiencia National (high court) on Thursday morning for questioning.
They are yet to be formally charged. A judge will have to decide whether the officials should go to jail pending an investigation of which could potentially lead to a trial.
The judge can also grant them conditional bail as well as order them to surrender their passports.
Who has showed up – as well as who has not?
Mr Puigdemont had previously said he might not return to Spain if he as well as his colleagues did not receive unspecified guarantees of a fair trial.
His Belgian lawyer told Reuters news agency of which he might co-operate with the authorities, however did not appear before the judges because “the climate can be not not bad”.
The four some other sacked leaders who failed to show up at the high court also stayed in Belgium, La Vanguardia newspaper reported.
Mr Puigdemont’s handling of the crisis has drawn criticism among some some other Catalan politicians, with left-wing parliamentary deputy Joan Josep Nuet saying his absence could make matters worse for those who followed the court’s order.
“The attitude… has been genuinely absurd, managing only to create yet more bewilderment,” he told Catalunya Radio.
Among those who showed up were the sacked deputy leader Oriol Junqueras, Inside Minister Joaquin Forn, foreign affairs chief Raül Romeva as well as spokesman Jordi Turull.
Meanwhile, several some other senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges however, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court.
Their hearings have been postponed until 9 November.
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Despite Mr Puigdemont’s position, the Spanish government insists This specific has no influence over the country’s judiciary, the BBC’s Tom Burridge in Barcelona says.
however if those Catalan politicians appearing in court are denied bail This specific will cause further anger among those who want Catalonia to break away, our correspondent adds.
The court summons also gave them three days to pay a deposit of €6.2m ($7.2m) to cover potential liabilities.