Spain Catalonia: Finland ponders request to extradite Puigdemont

Laverne Mann
March 25, 2018

Crowds of protesters in Spain's Catalonia region have clashed with police after the Supreme Court stepped up legal action against separatists, a BBC News report said on Saturday.

Many Catalans went to the streets after yesterday the Spanish Supreme Court chose to sue 25 of the former district leaders who took measures to declare the independence of the area in the autumn of previous year.

Spain's Supreme Court ruled 25 Catalan leaders should be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state.

Spain's Supreme Court said on Friday it would prosecute 13 key Catalan separatists for "rebellion", a crime which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail.

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont faces arrest in Finland after authorities there received an worldwide warrant for his detention issued by Spain, the latest legal action against separatist politicians from the wealthy northeastern region.

On March 22, Jordi Turull fell short of the required votes to be elected as regional president. "It is not right for a judge to do politics", Mr Puigdemont said.

All five left Spain following a proclamation of independence for Catalonia in October.

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Demonstrations also took place in other parts of Catalonia.

The court did not give a date for the trial.

The judge later ruled that Turull and four others - among them the former speaker of the Catalan parliament - would be denied bail and remanded in custody. However, she chose to flee the country to live "in exile", as she stated in a letter.

Later on Friday, Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent said he would read a statement in support of those in prison in the parliamentary session.

This would entail fewer calls for engagement with Madrid and the heightening tensions between the regional and federal governments. The issue of independence not only has generated a conflict with Madrid but also has split Catalan society.

The separatist majority of the Catalan parliament had the chance to elect Turull on Thursday, but the far-left wing of its bloc sunk his chances by abstaining. A month later, he unilaterally declared independence, prompting Madrid to intervene in the autonomous region and call elections there in December - where the pro-independence parties once again won a bigger share of the vote than parties loyal to the Spanish crown. If they can not agree to a government in two months, another regional election will be held.

The semi-autonomous region has been without a leader for almost five months after central authorities took control following October's illegal independence declaration. If a second investiture debate happens today, Mr Turull would only need a simple majority to assume the presidency.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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