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Spain prosecutors seek up to 25 years jail for Catalan separatists

Protesters hold a yellow ribbon with a picture of Catalonia’s deposed leader Carles Puigdemont while waving Catalan pro-independence Estelada flags during a demonstration in Barcelona on March 25, 2018 after he was arrested by German police.<br />German police arrested Catalonia’s deposed leader Carles Puigdemont on March 25, 2018, five months after he went into self-imposed exile in Belgium over his failed bid to break the region away from Spain.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE

Spanish prosecutors called Friday for Catalan separatist leaders to be jailed for up to 25 years on charges of rebellion or misuse of public funds over last year’s failed secession bid.

In a statement ahead of an upcoming Supreme Court trial, the prosecution service said it was seeking prison sentences against 12 Catalan leaders ranging from seven to 25 years, the latter jail term being sought for former Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras.

Prosecutors want two influential Catalan civic leaders, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, and former regional parliamentary speaker Carme Forcadell jailed for 17 years.

In a separate case, they said they were also seeking four to 11 years jail against former regional police leaders including Catalonia’s then police chief Josep Lluis Trapero, whom they also accuse of rebellion.

In its statement, the prosecution service said pro-independence leaders planned to use all possible means to achieve secession in October 2017, “including — knowing that the state wouldn’t accept this situation — any violence needed to secure this criminal result.”

It said separatist leaders had instigated “big citizen mobilisations” that represented an “intimidating force” and had also used the regional police force, with its 17,000 agents, which followed their orders.

The charge of rebellion, which implies “rising up in a violent and public manner,” has caused controversy in Spain where some say the independence bid went ahead without any violence, bar that waged by Spanish police on the day of a banned independence referendum.

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