Jailing of Catalan politicians could lead to backlash

  • Jailing of Catalan politicians could lead to backlash

Jailing of Catalan politicians could lead to backlash

The jailing of the former ministers caused an uproar in Catalonia, where pro-independence protesters filled the streets.

Puigdemont and four others fled to Belguim after the three day ultimatum to pay a deposit of €6.2m ($7.2m) to cover potential liabilities which was stated in the court summons, expired.

In response to Catalonia declaring independence weeks later, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stripped the region of its autonomy and unseated its legislators. In the text, the dismissed regional ministers are called "the legitimate government of Catalonia".

"I'm ashamed that they lock up opponents in my country", said Pablo Iglesias, leader of Podemos, which opposes independence.

In Madrid, 20 secessionist leaders had been summoned by two separate courts to testify over their role in holding a banned October 1 referendum on secession and later proclaiming independence from Spain.

She said the defendants, who could face jail sentences of up to 50 years, must be held in custody because they were a flight risk and could destroy evidence. But instead, magistrate Carmen Lamela chose to jail eight of the politicians, only setting bail for Santi Vila, who had opposed last week's unilateral declaration.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to detain eight of the nine former government members who turned up for questioning in Madrid, accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

The high court, known as the the Audiencia Nacional, had ordered Puigdemont and the 13 other ministers to appear.

The Supreme Court said the hearing of the six regional parliament board members was postponed until November 9 following a request by their lawyers.