Jailed Catalan leaders doubt they will get a fair trial: Defence lawyer

File photo: Demonstrators wave Estelada (Catalan separatist flags) during a march. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Madrid, Spain Feb 11, 2019, 11.18 PM (IST)

Twelve Catalan politicians go on trial on Tuesday (February 12) for their role in Catalonia's failed 2017 independence bid, but they don't think they will get a fair trial, a defence lawyer said on Monday.

The case puts the spotlight back on Spain's biggest political crisis in decades and could make it flare once again as it refocuses attention on the region's push for secession.

The trial will decide if Catalan nationalist leaders stay in jail for their role in an independence drive banned by the Spanish Constitution.

The public prosecutor is seeking prison terms of up to 25 years on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

Supporters of Catalan independence say they are political prisoners, while Madrid accuses them of breaking the law.

Mariano Rajoy, who was Spanish prime minister at the time of the independence vote and its aftermath, will be among the witnesses.

The last time a trial for rebellion was held in Spain was in 1982 after a failed military coup attempt. Its leader, found guilty of rebellion by a military court, was sentenced to 30 years of prison.

Story highlights

The trial will decide if Catalan nationalist leaders stay in jail for their role in an independence drive banned by the Spanish Constitution.