Catalan politicians in Spanish court in secession probe


The Spain-wide arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday by the Supreme Court in Madrid, after Gabriel failed to show up for a hearing accusing her (and others) of rebellion and sedition.

Spain's Supreme Court ordered the arrest of former Catalan member of parliament Anna Gabriel after she failed to appear in court on Wednesday to answer charges related to the region's independence campaign. She also slammed the government for failing to protect separatist leaders from far right groups.

A Spanish judge on Tuesday ordered the arrest of a leading Catalan separatist politician if she returns to Spain from Switzerland, where she has moved to avoid a judicial inquiry. "I'm wanted for my political activities and the government press has already declared me guilty", Gabriel told Swiss daily Le Temps on Tuesday. Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont fled the country shortly after the independence declaration and remains in self-imposed exile in Brussels with four members of his previous cabinet.

Judicial police have identified Rovira and Pascal as key players in the staging of a banned independence referendum and the declaration of secession Catalan lawmakers made based on its results.

Following the regional election in December, pro-independence parties continued to hold a narrow majority in the Catalan parliament, though attempts to reinstate Puigdemont as head while he resides overseas have failed.

"I would have never come to Switzerland but the situation has forced me to", she told Catalan television in an interview on Wednesday. She is also a history of law professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

"If there is a request, we have to look at it thoroughly, and from what the media say, it seems to be a political offence, so there is no extradition", he added.

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Both told the judge Monday that the October 27 independence had symbolic value, but no legal effect, according to witnesses of Monday's court proceedings.

Gabriel accused Madrid of "repression", likening the situation in Catalonia with "what is happening right now in Turkey".

Gabriel said it was developing into a witch-hunt with "almost 900 people under investigation, among them teachers, police, politicians and even simple voters".

The CUP held the balance of power in Catalonia's parliament during that time, as ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont's ruling coalition lacked a majority and relied on the smaller party's 10 seats to pass legislation and advance his independence "roadmap".

So far, four separatist leaders have been jailed pending a probe into their role in the separatist drive on charges that include rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

"I will be more useful to my movement free than behind bars", Gabriel said.