Spain’s Attorney General seeks to charge Catalan leaders

World Today

Nationalist activists march with Catalan, Spanish and European Union flags during a mass rally against Catalonia’s declaration of independence, in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. Thousands of opponents of independence for Catalonia held the rally on one of the city’s main avenues after one of the country’s most tumultuous days in decades. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Spain’s top prosecutor is looking to charge the main pro-independence leaders in Catalonia.

Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza has issued papers, which if accepted by the courts, could see the Catalan leadership charged with crimes of rebellion; sedition and misuse of public funds.

CGTN’s Richard Bestic reports.

The Attorney General has accused the most senior members of Catalonia’s sacked administration of creating crisis in Spain and they should, he said, be prosecuted.

“As State Attorney General I inform you that my office has filed charges for rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds against the main members of the Catalan government, who over the last two years have caused an institutional crisis that culminated in a unilateral declaration of independence carried out with total disdain for the constitution,” Maza announced.

The Attorney General’s move wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it could prove incendiary in a deeply divided Catalonia, with possible sentences of 30 years in jail for its targets.

The people on the receiving end of Maza’s call for prosecution: the cabinet of the Catalan government sacked by Madrid after declaring unilateral independence.

At its center, the former President of the region, Carles Puigdemont, stripped of his title and authority.

The whereabouts of Puigdemont are uncertain.

He didn’t turn up for work on Monday and local media is reporting he has traveled to Belgium to pursue the possibility of political asylum.

On the streets of Barcelona life goes on, although there are signs the campaign for independence could be on the wane as at least two pro-independence parties have said they won’t fight the snap elections ordered by Madrid.

Taking part, possibly a tacit admission that independence is in retreat.

The crowds marching against independence that teemed onto the streets of Barcelona at the weekend will have emboldened the government in Madrid as they see those who called themselves the silent majority have now apparently found their voice.