Catalonia: As Independence Leaders Stand Trial, Is Spain Heading Towards Constitutional Crisis?

Tommy Greene & Eoghan Gilmartin - 12 February 2019

A dozen leaders of Catalonia’s failed 2017 independence bid have gone on trial in Madrid, charged with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

Some of the accused, who are mostly ex-officials of the Catalan regional government, face up to 25 years in prison, in a trial that has aggravated Spain’s worst constitutional crisis since the country’s transition to democracy more than 40 years ago.

The defendants were arrested in autumn 2017 following an outlawed referendum on 1 October and a unilateral independence proclamation later that month. The breakaway bid was suppressed by Mariano Rajoy’s central Spanish government which imposed direct rule on the region. Key political leaders were rounded up and arrested shortly afterwards and nine of the 12 have been in “preventative detention” ever since, awaiting this week’s trial... See more